When Jaylen Turner made our Sophomore All-State Football team, we remarked he had come out of nowhere to make the squad. Let me assure you of this, he LITERALLY came from nowhere.
What we mean is he wasn’t a “Team Kentuckian” in middle school. Heck, he wasn’t a football player in middle school. He didn’t play football until he walked into the Bobcat’s Den, last summer, and decided he would give it a try.
Turner had, through mid-way of his freshman season, attended Jackson City School in Jackson, Kentucky. He was a basketball prospect. He still is. He couldn’t play football at Jackson City High School because Jackson City doesn’t field a team.
So Turner transferred over to Breathitt to give football the old college try. His production, especially in light of his never having before played, was unbelievable.
Quarterbacks are measured, first and foremost, by the “Ws” and “Ls.” How about this for a measurement?
Turner was 8-1 as the starter at QB. Turner, who was playing receiver at the time (3 receptions for 79-receiving yards and a TD), moved over to take the QB-reins for game-6 (at Middlesboro) when returning District POY, Braxton O’Hara, succumbed to back-injury.
Over the 9-games at QB, he threw for just shy of 1,000-yards. Turner also threw 10-TD passes with only 3-interceptions, and rushed for another 153-yards on 19-attempts. Turner logged another 3-TDs rushing to add to his 10 through the air and the lone score he had receiving.
On defense, this budding QB-superstar had 40-tackles and 5-interceptions. He actually made our sophomore All-State Football team as a safety.
Turner, measured a year ago at 6-4, has grown another inch since then and has been complaining of back-pain generally associated with growth. He’s a legit, and I mean super-legit, 6-5 right now and weighs around 200-pounds.
He’s well put together and has top-flight running speed for which we don’t have a timed-40 to report. However, we know vertical explosion and lift equate to running speed and the kid has excellent hops.
Ask any team on Breathitt’s basketball schedule a year ago. Turner was considered the team’s most dynamic an prolific dunkers. He finished the year about an 11-point per game scorer who was “option-one” on the offensive end of the floor by tournament time.
So how good is Turner at football? Well, let me put it this way. As a safety, where he probably won’t play in college for reasons I will explain below, he is Kentucky’s best prospect in the 2022 class.
Where else will you find a 6-5 inch safety, as coordinated and savvy as Turner, and who has a 6-8 inch wingspan, to patrol the defensive back-end? Yep, if recruiters know about him, he will be one of the first players in his class with multiple D-1 offers.
Now, as a QB? Many believe he may also round into the top prospect at that position in the 2022-class.
Right now, Isaac MacNamee, from Pikeville, is the top QB in the class. MacNamee, Chris MacNamee’s son, is ahead of Turner in reads, decision-making, and sophistication at the position. After all, the former “Team Kentuckian” has played there for years and years.
However, reading defenses, making quick decisions with the football, and sophisticated play at the QB-position are all gaps which can close with repetitions. Turner is a better, overall athlete than MacNamee. Turner is also taller, longer, has just as quick of a release, a higher release point, and can make all the throws on the route-tree exactly how you want to see them made.
Both QBs get the ball to their receivers when they should be getting it. Both QBs enable receivers or backs to get the ball in their hands with time and space to make plays leading to yards-after-the-catch.
So, it may well be fortuitous Turner wears No. 1 on both his basketball and football jerseys. He may just be telling us where we should rank him among his peers at both positions he plays among Kentucky’s class of 2022.
This is Coach HB Lyon, reporting for KPGFootball, and we’re JUST CALLING IT LIKE WE SEE IT!
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