June 11, 2008
Turk picks the Irish
Ben Turk wasted little time accepting a scholarship offer from Notre Dame.
It was just a week ago the 6-foot, 190-pound punter from St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., picked up an offer from Irish head coach Charlie Weis. Wednesday evening he verbally committed to Notre Dame assistant coach Bernie Parmalee.
"I was just thinking about it for a while, talking it over with my dad and my uncle and decided I wanted to get it over with," Turk said. "You don't really get a school better than that, so there was nothing to wait for."
Turk's commitment comes as a bit of a surprise considering he hasn't even visited Notre Dame. He hopes to change that early this summer. He won't get to share the good news with Weis until some time next week as the Irish head man is out of town this week.
"I'll talk to him next week," Turk said. "Coach Parmalee was happy and excited."
Holding offers from Cincinnati and Notre Dame, Turk said he didn't have much to consider when making his choice.
"Notre Dame obviously was on top of Cincinnati because of academics and the tradition of the school," he said. "I'm excited to go there the year after next."
Turk said he wasn't promised early playing time, but he's headed to South Bend with the goal of earning the starting job.
"(Parmalee) said at a young year I could impact the team," Turk said. "I'd love to start as a freshman."
Last fall, Turk averaged 41 yards per punt and earned more recognition from national kicking guru Chris Sailer. Turk earned a 4.5 star rating from Sailer, good enough to tie him with two other punters for No. 1 in the country. But, that ranking means little to Turk.
"The respect from him, it's good, but it doesn't affect me," he said. "I just went up (to his camp) and did my thing."
When Turk arrives on campus, he'll be one of three former St. Thomas Aquinas players on the Irish roster. Offensive linemen Dan Wenger and Sam Young are current juniors.
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