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Gilmer's Pollard, Turner to team up again at Rice

By Rick Kretzschmar rickk@news-journal.com
Feb. 1, 2012 at 10 p.m.


GILMER - When Darrion Pollard and Luke Turner need someone to discuss athletic and academic challenges over the next four years they can turn to each other.

Pollard and Turner - each standout football players for Gilmer - lived up to verbal commitments they made to Rice University on Wednesday, signing national letters of intent. They were two of five Gilmer football players to sign with colleges in a ceremony at the Gilmer High School Field House.

The others included two players who inked with Tyler Junior College - Traylon Webb and Eddie Fluellen - as well Jordan Traylor, who will play for Mississippi College. This group helped Gilmer to a 13-1 record in 2011, including a 5-0 mark in District 16-3A, widely regarded to be the best Class 3A district in Texas over the past two years.

Pollard and Turner originally committed to Rice in June. Pollard was a co-District 16-3A Offensive Most Valuable Player this past season as a receiver, but he anticipates playing cornerback for Rice. Pollard said he plans on majoring in sports management at a school renowned for strong academics.

"I like challenges," Pollard said. "Luke and I have thrown the football around together since we were in the seventh grade. We'll go in together and we'll face challenges together."

Turner was a 16-3A co-Most Valuable Player , despite suffering a season-ending ankle injury against Carthage on Oct. 14. Turner said he was confident Rice would not back out on its scholarship offer after he got hurt.

Turner said he could play running back, receiver or quarterback for the Owls.

Turner said Pollard will help him make the transition to life at Rice.

Webb said he decided to go to Tyler Junior College about two weeks ago. A standout cornerback, Webb said it was a combination of campus environment and the program's commitment to local athletes which drew him there. Tyler signed 18 players from East Texas on Wednesday.

Fluellen, a first-team receiver on the District 16-3A team, said he felt at home when he visited Tyler. He said the signing was the conclusion of three years of work since he transferred from Pittsburg.

Jordan Traylor was the other 16-3A MVP, replacing Turner at quarterback. He said he decided on Mississippi College last week, picking the Choctaws over Trinity University, Mary Hardin-Baylor and Hardin-Simmons because MC wanted him to play quarterback while the other schools preferred him at fullback. He said he also liked the academic challenges MC provided.

"I'll be a pre-med major," Jordan Traylor said. "I've always had a passion to someday play college football."

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