Do I have a problem with the Aggies signing running back Kenny Turner? Not really.
First off, I do believe people deserve second chances. Obviously what Turner did when he was 16 years old — shooting two men in a gunfight — was wrong. But he also should be given the opportunity to make up for it. And football is his refuge. So no, I really don't have a problem with him getting a chance to play at NMSU. It is unusual, but that doesn't necessarily make it wrong.
The fact is this about New Mexico State: it is a second-chance school. If this kid didn't find trouble as a youth and is as good as advertised, he wouldn't be an Aggie. He would have been at a primetime BCS school, racking up yardage and trying to reach the NFL. Now, he's a 24 year old looking to revitalize his talents in Las Cruces. Hopefully, it will work out for both parties and put both parties on the map.
The Aggies still had holes on offense following February's National Signing Day. I certainly thought the team needed another running back and if Turner lives up to expectations, he should fit the bill. Head coach DeWayne Walker said the team needed a complement to Seth Smith, a breakaway runner who could be a homerun threat in the team's offense, adding that Turner would be that type of addition.
Obviously if Turner gets into trouble in Las Cruces, that is a worst case scenario and would bite the football program in the butt. In order for this marriage to work out, Turner needs to stay out of trouble, keep his head straight and be a productive citizen. But he has a lot of people backing him up — NFL players Chris Johnson and Mike Sims-Walker, his former coach at Fullerton College Tim Byrnes, Walker and the NMSU athletics department.
At 24 years old, this kid — is that even appropriate, this man — could conceivably dominate with the ball in his hands. He's in good physical shape and will be bigger than many of his WAC counterparts. That will be the first thing I look for when I watch him play — just his physical presence on the field and his running style. How he takes on tacklers and if his age is a noticeable advantage against younger competition.
It's something to keep an eye on.