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Versatile Turner helps coordinate Pirates

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By RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector

Monday, July 15, 2019

NEWPORT, R.I. — East Carolina is at American Athletic Conference football media days, equipped with first-year coach Mike Houston, first-year athletics director Jon Gilbert and senior receiver Deondre Farrier in his first visit to Newport.

Aside from veteran media relations director Tom McClellan in his usual role of keeping up with the Pirates’ schedule of activities, ECU senior defensive tackle Alex Turner also is kind of a liaison for the Pirate crew.

Turner is one of the AAC players here for the second time, having already participated in 2018 American media days.

The 6-foot-2, 293-pounder admitted he was “extremely nervous” last July at Gurney’s, but he looked and acted like a veteran Monday as a senior and second-year participant.

“I know how everything works now,” said Turner, a Houston native. “I’m kind of the one telling them what food they are going to have and this is where it is going to be and where to stand. There is some of that.”

In addition to administrators and coaches meeting and mingling with each other and bowl partners and various media outlets, a special opportunity for players at Gurney’s Newport Resort and Marina presents itself for them to tell their stories and open up about their personalities and lives off the field.

That comes naturally for Turner, who has been an ECU Dean’s List selection every year from 2016 to this spring as a double major in psychology and multidisciplinary studies in neuroscience. He already was awarded an ECU undergrad research and creativity award for his research examining prostatic radiation and bladder function/innervation.

“Football is football, at the end of the day, and we all love the game, but it is nice to talk about my story and what I do in my free time and what I plan to do after football when I’m done,” Turner said.

The specifics of his plans after football will continue to be boosted by his steady effort in the classroom.

Turner trying to describe the intricacies of his life as an academic double major, in simple terms, speaks to the balance and dedication he has to his craft as a true student-athlete.

“Well, neuroscience is more of the scientific and anatomical look at the brain and nerves and different lobes that biologically control different parts of the body,” he said. “That is neuroscience and my first major. The second is psychology and looking more at the cognitive side and the conscious and subconscious side of it.

“People’s experiences dictate who they are. ... One is more mental and the other more biological.”

One thing Turner did change for this year is his strategy when going through the buffet line Monday night for the AAC’s annual clambake event with lobster and other seafood options.

“I didn’t like the oysters last time, but I’m going to give it another try to see how it goes,” he said.

Contact Ronnie Woodward at rwoodward@reflector.com, 252-329-9592 and follow @RonnieW11 on Twitter.

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