HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Kent Turene's path from high school to a college football field was a little windier than he'd hoped. Every player in his position would love that road to be a straight shot. Some aren't so lucky and must wait a little longer than others.
But nearly two years after graduating from Boyd Anderson High in Lauderdale Lakes, Fla., the highly touted linebacker has a home on Marshall's football roster, and he's anxious to display the talent that turned so many heads in high school.
"It's been a blessing," Turene said of his debut on the Thundering Herd practice field. "With all the time I waited and all the hard work, to get to this point, I'm happy to be here."
Turene's original college destination was Georgia. He signed there in 2011 after a Boyd Anderson career where, as a senior, he was named an Under Armour All-American and earned four-star status from recruiting websites Scout, ESPN and 247Sports. He wasn't able to qualify academically at Georgia, though, and spent the fall 2011 semester at Atlanta Sports Academy.
He signed with Marshall in the spring 2012 semester, but had to sit out a year as an academic non-qualifier. His first taste of college football came when he jogged out with the rest of the Herd last Tuesday to start spring practices.
Turene said he's getting used to the mental aspects of the game again, regaining his footing there after such a long layoff. The physical parts of the game, though, have been easier to reclaim.
"It's just getting back into the flow of things," the 6-foot-3, 238-pound Turene said. "Right now, I feel fast. I feel that everything is still the same. It's still football. Nothing's changed."
Marshall Coach Doc Holliday said that Turene starts thinking as the coaches install more parts of new coordinator Chuck Heater's defense, and that might keep him from playing at full speed all the time, but he knows Turene will be able to crank that motor as he gets more comfortable.
"What I've seen of Turene, he's got the ability to play," Holliday said. "I noticed him here. He's got the athletic ability to get it done. I think you'll see him grow as a player as the spring goes on."
New linebackers coach Adam Fuller agreed that Turene's athletic ability should help him be a quick learner. He said it's obvious Turene loves the game, that he's driven to improve and that he's a talented player. Fuller said that's a great combination.