A junior at Carmel Catholic High School (Ill.), Noah Turner is no stranger to Big Ten football. The 6'3, 235-pound tight end has been courted by a handful of programs in the conference, most recently Maryland. Head coach Randy Edsall extended an offer to Turner on Feb. 12, joining Illinois and Indiana as his Big Ten offers and leaving the prospect at a loss for words.
"I was definitely shocked," said Turner. "I've been in previous contact with them for a while. Chad Wilt, who's my recruiting coordinator, has been to my school a handful of times. They seemed interested, but I didn't know they were ‘offer' interested. He told me to give him a call, so I did and coach Edsall offered me the scholarship. I was really shocked. I was definitely in shock when it happened."
Wisconsin, one of the Big Ten schools to express interest in Turner, hosted the prospect on a visit during the Wisconsin-Maryland game last October. Despite the 52-7 final score, the tight end managed to come away impressed with what the Terps had on the field.
"Well, I'm a Big Ten fan and they played well in the conference. I like their style of play," he said. "Even though [the Wisconsin game] didn't turn out too well for them, I saw the potential in them and I think with it being their first season in the Big Ten, they have a bright future ahead of them."
Maryland has five tight ends on the roster, but four of them will be upperclassmen by the time class of 2016 prospects like Turner get on campus.
"One thing I noticed was I think they only use two tight ends," he said. "So if I were to commit to them, I could come in and play a big role right away. Overall, I see the potential in them."
Playing time will be one of the keys to his recruitment, along with academics.
"With them being a Big Ten school, you can't go wrong with a Big Ten education," Turner said. "So that's definitely the first focal point. Then I'm going to look at early playing time. I'm a competitor, so I want to play regardless of where I go. If I get early playing time, or even start as a freshman, that's definitely something I'm looking at."
Turner, the 11th-ranked player in the state of Illinois according to the 247Sports Composite, doesn't necessarily have a list of schools but listed two schools from Big Ten country that stand out.
"Wisconsin definitely does stand out to me," he said. "I've been talking to their tight ends coach, who is new from their new staff and they definitely stand out. They're only two hours away from me, so it's definitely an eye catcher when someone is that close. I haven't narrowed it down to a certain list of schools yet. I like Michigan State a lot, but they haven't offered."
Having discussed his recruitment with his father, Turner is in no rush to come to a decision.
"I don't have anything like that planned yet," he said. "But I was talking to my dad and we think I'll commit during my senior season or after. I want to take my officials and extend this recruiting process for as long as possible."