By Pete Mollica
The Ursuline junior lineman earned all-state honors.
YOUNGSTOWN — He’s only a high school junior, but already Ursuline High’s Jamel Turner holds the respect of some of the nation’s top college football programs.
Tuesday, Turner, the 6-foot-3, 215 pound end/linebacker, left only two schools happy — Ursuline and the Ohio State University where he’ll be playing football beginning with the 2010 season.
“I think that I’ve known ever since my sophomore season that Ohio State is where I wanted to go,” Turner said. “I didn’t think it was fair to the other schools interested in me so that’s why I wanted to make my decision early.”
And there were plenty of them interested in Turner.
He was being sought after by Wisconsin, Illinois, Notre Dame, Michigan State and Penn State.
Turner said that he talked to Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel a week ago and told him that he wanted to become a Buckeye once he graduated from Ursuline.
“He was pretty excited when I called him and I’m going to call him again tonight to tell him that I’ve made it official,” Turner said.
“I’ve been around a lot of universities in the past year and the atmosphere at Ohio State was so much like home,” Turner said. “I felt comfortable with the coaches and the players right from my first visit.
“It’s exciting,” Turner said. “I’m an Ohio boy and I’ll be playing in my home state in front of my family and friends.
Turner said that this decision only extends the tremendous season that he and the Irish had this fall, going undefeated in 15 games and winning the Division V state championship.
Turner also was named to the first-team All-State team.
Dan Reardon, Ursuline coach, is elated that he’ll have Turner back for another season.
“It’s been a joy to watch Jamel mature in these last two years,” Reardon said. “He’s been a standout in anything he does including track and basketball.
“He set the school record for sacks as a sophomore and then last season with everybody in the state focusing on him he still averaged over a sack a game,” Reardon said.
“His production has been almost ‘freakish’ and because of his play a lot of other players on this team had great seasons. I’m certainly glad that I have him for another season.”
Turner said that the one thing that really turned him toward the Buckeyes was the coaching staff.
“Meeting them and being around Coach Tressel was the deciding point,” he said.
“I think I made up my mind after my first visit there.”
He said that he’ll play anywhere that the Buckeyes need him, but most likely it will be at an outside linebacker position.
He’s still looking forward to running track this spring where he will defend his state championship in the 110 meter high hurdles.
Turner also enjoys playing on the Ursuline basketball team.