Displace by Hurricane Katrina in August of 2005 as a junior higher, moving to
California to take one last shot at the game he loved, spending time homeless so
he could keep his football dream alive and ultimately being taken in by his
girlfriend's family, Fullerton (Calif.) College defensive lineman Antoine Turner
never stopped hoping.
Turner will sign his national letter-of-intent with Boise State on Wednesday,
after he visited Boise State over the weekend for an official visit and
committed to the Broncos on his trip.
From where his journey started in August of 2005 to where it took him in
February of 2014, it's been a road that few have traveled and one that he has
As he stood on the Blue Turf in Bronco Stadium, the emotions of the journey
"As soon I touched that field, I knew it was the place for me," said Turner.
"Aside from the color being so strong, it all crashed down on me.
Everything I've been through. I could picture all the fans. I was in
a stadium that big, that I'd seen on television. I'm a small town kid from
Louisiana and I'm standing on the field of a stadium I'd only seen on
television. It was amazing. I knew then I had a chance to start a
legacy at the school."
After he walked off the field, Turner sat down with new head coach Bryan
Harsin and told him that he wanted to be a Bronco.
"I sat down and talked with Coach Harsin and he was ecstatic the whole time,"
said Turner. "They made me feel really loved. They told me if I came
there, I'd be ok. They know my trials and tribulations. They know
I'll be good as a Bronco. They know I can come in and help change that
defense. That's when I told them I wanted to be a Bronco."
Still emotional after making his commitment, Turner went back to the hotel to
think about the decision he had just made.
"I went back to the hotel and I cried. I couldn't stop it. There
I was, in Boise, Idaho. Just being there was a trip. I'm coming of
the plane and I'm in Boise. That hit me and I was going crazy. When
I went to see the school, saw how it was set up academically, and realized that
all of that was for me if I played that sport at that school and I'm able to get
a degree, that brought the waterworks for a long, long time," said Turner.
Turner said he's just getting going.
"I learned from my grandma, if you believe in something strong enough, you
speak it into existence. If you keep God first, he'll take you through the
trials and tribulations. He said I'd be in that position. I knew it
would be there. The journey is still not over. I want to ball there
and leave a legacy that no one will ever forget," said Turner.
Turner, like just about every football player, dreams of a career in the NFL.
But he knows he has more important matters.
"The biggest thing for me is academics, because football doesn't last
forever. My motivation is that degree. I'm in my classes, doing my
work, to get that degree," said Turner. "I'm working hard. I do my
school work in a busy schedule every day, go and get on the computer, go and
work out and then do my school work more. I'm not partying, I'm not going
out. I didn't come this far to mess up. I'm going to destroy any
obstacle in my way."
The entire visit, Turner was communicating with his family about his trip.
"I had my family in New Orleans and I kept my family in California really
posted," said Turner. "I called my Uncle Nate and my girlfriend and
relayed that I loved it up there. It was amazing. My uncle said 'sounds
like you're about to be a Bronco,' and I said 'it sounds like you're right'. I
have the utmost support from everybody. From Coach (Steve) Caldwell
(Boise's defensive line coach) to my family. They show a lot of support
for me. And they love the school."
Turner will sign on Wednesday at Fullerton College.
And when he plays his first game as a Bronco, it will be in the South, where
he's from, against Ole Miss, a team from the SEC, the conference he grew up
"I'm a Southern kid and I know all about the SEC," said Turner. "My
body type is an SEC body type. They may be playing a Mountain West school,
but they won't be playing a Mountain West player. They're going to have to
block an SEC player."
At 6-3, 276, Turner said the coaches were surprised at how good he looked.
"I'm a lean 276 and the coaches were shocked at how I looked," said Turner.
"But my family works out."
Three days after making his decision, Turner said he's still beaming.
"I'm very excited. I loved it. The blue has taken me over," said Turner.
"I'm bleeding blue as we speak."