HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - The Southern Miss football team lost a key member of its defensive unit Monday.
Defensive lineman Jacques Turner announced on Twitter that he would be opting out of the 2020 season and become a graduate transfer.
Turner said the “uncertainty” surrounding COVID-19 and the college football season weighed heavily on his decision. His brother Julius tested positive for COVID-19 three days ago.
“I wanted to have a normal senior year,” Turner said. “I don’t want to have to think about ‘What if?’ I just want to be able to go to work and compete my butt off and not worry about getting the virus.”
Turner was an impact player for the Golden Eagles in three seasons - recording 100 tackles, 31.5 tackles for loss and 15.5 sacks.
As a redshirt freshman in 2017, Turner was named to Conference USA’s All-Freshman team. He went on to be named first team all-conference in 2018 and an honorable mention last season.
“It was probably one of the hardest decisions that I’ve had to make,” Turner said. “These guys that I’ve made bonds with over the past few years, these are bonds I’m going to have the rest of my life. The people from Hattiesburg, they’ve just shown so much love for me and support.”
The 6-foot-1, 289-pound D’Iberville native will graduate from Southern Miss in December with a degree in sports management.
Southern Miss and Conference USA plan to continue on with the football season after conferences such as the Big 10 and Pac-12 suspended the fall season due to COVID-19.