If Jordan Turner were to return to high school for a class reunion, his former classmates might not recognize him. Turner, who once weighed in close to 330 pounds, has trimmed off more than 40 pounds, usually tipping the scales at about 285 pounds.
"It has been a good thing," Turner said. "It's great weight I lost. I look a lot better and I feel fine right now."
Losing the weight means Turner will switch positions this fall for Coffeyville (Kansas) C.C. He's staying on the defensive line, but instead of playing the one technique - a position that required him to essentially eat up space - Turner has moved to the three technique, where coaches will count on him to be a disruptive force in the offensive backfield.
"I always play the three now," he said. "Last year, I was always basically taking on double teams. That's what I was always doing. At tackle, it gives me more leeway to make plays."
Turner originally signed with Memphis out of high school, but because he transferred high schools before his senior season, his transcript didn't allow him to qualify. Memphis, having offered Turner, remains in the picture, while Louisville, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Toledo have been in contact. But Baylor - behind linebackers coach Jim Gush - has come on strong these past few weeks.
"We talk all the time, he's a great guy," Turner said of Gush. "I was planning on going down for the spring game, but it's about 70 percent right now that I'll make the trip. Right now I'm planning on going."
A trip to Waco could be the final push Turner needs to make a decision. He said committing to the Bears "has crossed his mind," partly because of his relationship with Gush, and partly because he feels like Baylor has realized Turner's potential to be a force on the defensive line.
"It's the first school that really took a chance on me since I went to JUCO," he said. "For that prestigious of a program to offer me, that really made me a lot better and I'm a different player because of it. I was a good player before, but now I'm reaching my full potential. I definitely love Baylor."
Aside from cultivating relationships with his potential college coaches, finding a college program with top-notch facilities is the most important thing for Turner. Because after working so hard to get his body into better shape, Turner is not about to let it slide.
"I'm about 285, 290 right now," he said. "In August, at the beginning of the season, I see myself at about 295. But a Big 12 program like Baylor, they'll put the muscle on you. I'd see myself at about 305."