How South Carolina approaches recruiting offensive linemen
It’s been a few years since South Carolina football took a swing on a truly massive offensive lineman.
USC offensive line coach Eric Wolford sees a big opportunity to grab a big offensive tackle, and the Gamecocks became the first to offer a big one in Hutchenson Community College’s Jazston Turnetine.
“I guess I met them way back when but I couldn’t really talk to them at all and I guess they remembered my name,” Turnetine said. “The person who recruited me here put me on to them and introduced me to them before I even knew it. He told them my name and how long I’ve been playing. I started here over a Memphis commit coming in as a freshman. I guess he put me out there as fast as he can since I started over someone.”
Turnetine said he knew in high school he would have to go the junior college route because of his academics. He had options to go to D-2 programs but his goal is the big-time of college football.
“I was a big time procrastinator in high school and I’m now paying for it, but I guess it’s kind of good because I’ve wanted to go D-1 instead of settling for less,” he said. “I can actually get what I want now. It turned out great for me.”
Turnetine said he is on track to graduate in December and he’ll have three years to play two at the next level. And he feels USC would be a fine place to do that.
“I’d love to go there,” Turnetine said. ‘They need a tackle. I can live in a comfortable place. They coaching staff is great. Coach Wolf has a lot of rankings up under his belt. He’s a great guy. I guess I got that vibe from them that this is a home and plus it’s about three hours away from my house.”
Turnetine has never visited USC but he wants to. He also is not going to rush a decision as he waits for other offers to fall into place. He feels he has a lot to offer on the football field to schools needing a big tackle.
“My ability to adapt to game situations,” he identified as a strength of his game. “Some people think it’s leadership. I don’t think of myself as a leader at all but my fellow players think I’m the leader out of the O-line. I’m just doing my job. My last offensive line coach took me under his wing and molded me and made me use my hands. I have a very strong punch now. My pass protection, he tweaked it and now I’m even better. My run blocking is great. Pulling wise, running out in space, I think I’m doing pretty well but I can do a lot better. As always, you can always get better.”
The Ellenwood, Ga., product comes in at 6-foot-7, 337 pounds according to his junior college bio, though some places have him at 6-foot-8, 340.
The Gamecocks’ biggest linemen of late were 6-foot-8 Blake Camper, who opened 2018 as a starter and ended as a utility lineman, and 6-foot-9, 315-pound Mason Zandi, who started his final two seasons.
Turnetine played left tackle for a team that averaged 34.8 points and 213.6 rushing yards per game. The 9-3 team allowed 26 sacks. His team finished as the No. 8 team in the country.
South Carolina brought in five offensive linemen in the 2019 class, all high school players. USC did find recent success with a junior college product as Dennis Daley spent two seasons on campus and started almost every game at left tackle.
Watch Turnetine’s highlights below: