While watching the Southern Miss football team's 44-10 win over Charlotte on Saturday, D'Iberville defensive end Jacques Turner became convinced it was finally time to make his college choice public.
"I feel like Southern Miss is on the come up," the senior said Monday. "They've been struggling the last couple of years, but coach (Todd) Monken has done a pretty good job and I want to be a part of it."
Turner chose Southern Miss over UCF, Purdue, Louisiana Tech, Ohio and several other FBS programs.
D'Iberville defensive coordinator Jason Hockaday believes USM landed quite the prospect in the 6-foot-3, 245-pound Turner.
"They're getting a great kid, No. 1," Hockaday said. "He's a guy that's worked as hard as anybody on our team and anybody on the Coast to get to where he is now. If you watch his film last year to this year, he's made great improvement in his game. You can really tell he's in it for long haul and not doing it just for fun. He takes it seriously. He wants to be successful."
USM is 5-3 and 3-1 in Conference USA with a chance to gain bowl eligibility when it hosts UTEP at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Turner turned his focus from basketball to football headed into his senior season and that's paid off on the field. Despite being double-teamed and triple-teamed much of the time, Turner has 67 tackles, a team-leading 5.5 sacks and 10 tackles for lost yardage this season for D'Iberville.
Turner said that he will likely play defensive end for USM, but has the potential to play both outside and inside linebacker.
Hockaday also sees the potential for Turner to play defensive tackle at USM.
"I really feel like he's very versatile. He can play inside or outside on the D-line," Hockaday said. "He's definitely a pass rusher. That's his best attribute. He's got good quickness, good feet. He's so shifty that when linemen are trying to block him they struggle to keep their feet in front of him."
Turner called USM safeties coach Pete Golding to inform him of his decision Sunday evening.
"He was crazy," Turner said of Golding's response. "He told me I was the No. 1 defensive linemen on their board. They worked real hard to get me."
The chance to play close to home also played into Turner's decision to attend college in Hattiesburg.
"My mom loves it," Turner said. "It's close by my home and she wants to come watch me play."