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September 19, 2006For the second year in a row, the nation's top junior college player in the Rivals.com Junior College Top 50 is from West of the Mississippi. And for the second year in a row, Visalia (Calif.) College of the Sequoias is home to a five-star prospect.
Last year the nation's top juco player was Louis Holmes, but this year the honor of the nation's top junior college player goes to defensive back Woodny Turenne.
The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Turenne is the new wave cornerback.
He's got the size, speed and built of a lockdown corner. And college coaches from all over the nation have paid attention. He has offers from teams all over the nation and lists Florida, Cal, Michigan, Ole Miss, Nebraska, Southern Cal, Texas A&M and UCLA as his top teams.
"Woodney is a tremendous cover corner that has great size, blistering speed and impeccable character," College of the Sequoias assistant Andy Siegal.
"There are too few kids in college football that have his athletic ability mixed with his character. Woodney is what an A plus American is supposed to be."
Turenne has good football in his blood. His cousin is Tennessee Titan and former Dodge City C.C. All-American Reynaldo Hill.
"He's a lot like Reynaldo, but Reynaldo isn't as fast as Woodney," Siegal said. "Woodney will play on Sundays if he stays healthy."
A native of Florida, Turenne left home for the opportunity to play college football at its highest level. After a great freshman season at Sequoias, Turenne now has his pick of schools.
"I had about 25 pass deflections and five interceptions," Turenne said. "I felt pretty good about that because I went through some games when teams didn't throw my way. There were games where I shutout receivers."
Last year it was quarterback Brent Schaeffer that was the star at College of the Sequoias, but this year it's all about Turenne.
At No. 2 in the nation is Wahepton (N.D.) North Dakota State College of Science running back Jerome Messam. The 6-4, 235-pounder is the highest ranked player to come out of the school in its history.
Messam has already received formal scholarship offers from Kansas State, Iowa State, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona State. He has also received interest from Nebraska, Maryland, Florida and USC.
In three games this season, he has 53 carries for 433 yards and four touchdowns. That's an 8.17-yard average per carry and a 144-yard average a game. With his great size, speed and athleticism, some college coaches compare him to a Bo Jackson type running back.
"He's a tremendous athlete," North Dakota State College of Science assistant Mike Shafer said. "He's a physical specimen. He's big and fast and he's a playmaker for us when he's on the field."
Booneville (Miss.) Northeast C.C. is home to the nation's No. 3 player Michael Ricks. The 6-2, 195-pounder is already committed to Alabama and is a special prospect. As a freshman he had 48 tackles and two interceptions. Scout think he has the NFL written all over him.
"Junior college has been great for me from every angle," Ricks said.
"I'm doing great in school and I'll be a December graduate, which I'm excited about. I learned how to manage football and my school work which will get me ready for Alabama and will make everything easier. On the field I'm bigger, faster and stronger than I have ever been. A few weeks ago I ran a 4.39-40 and I'm benching 260 and squatting 500. The weight program has been great for me."
Coffeyville (Kan.) Coffeyville C.C. safety Gary Chandler is the No. 4 player and the top player in the always loaded Jayhawk Conference. The 5-foot-11, 186-pounder is a ballhawk and is always making big plays. He earned all-league honors last year and earned pre-season All-America honors this season.
He's already racked up 29 tackles in four games and has two forced fumbles.
"He's going to have a tremendous opportunity to play right away wherever he ends up at," Coffeyville assistant Rico Cherico said. "He's a very gifted, gifted player. He should be able to come in and play rather quickly for whoever he signs with. He's got a great football sense for the game. He plays a lot of plays. I'm really excited about him."
At No. 5 is Marysville (Calif.) Yuba C.C. linebacker Mike Reed.
The 6-4, 245-pounder is already committed to Oklahoma and was also heavily recruited early on by Pac 10 teams. He was an all-league selection in 2005.
"He's our best guy by far," Yuba defensive coordinator Tomas Rodriguez said. "We were sending out some highlight tapes of Mike, and we got a lot of great response. It didn't take Oklahoma too long after they got the tape to get on him and offer him. There are going to be a lot of disappointed coaches call over the next few weeks to find out that Mike's already off the board.
"He's definitely the type of player you see playing at Oklahoma. He is Oklahoma good."
Rodriguez said Reed missed three games as a freshman with a knee bruise, but in the seven games he played in he made a huge impact for the 49ers, which operate out of a 3-4 defense.
"He has great speed for his size," Rodriguez said of Reed, who has a 4.5-second time in the 40-yard dash.
"We went down to Fresno State to work with their coaches this spring and they saw film on him and fell in love with him right away. He just blows up everything. Somebody comes across his face and he destroys it."
Turenne is the only five-star player in the junior college ranks at this point and players ranked from two to 25 are at the four-star level. The rest of the ranking is made up of three-star prospects. There are also several players on the three-star level that aren't on the list. As the season progresses Rivals.com will eventually build the ranking out to a top 100.