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Kemoko Turay’s Improbable Journey to the Senior Bowl

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NCAA Football: Rutgers at Indiana Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

Kemoko Turay burst onto the scene for the Scarlet Knights with a scintillating 7.5 sacks as a true freshman; he has a chance to go out with a bang at the Senior Bowl.

The Senior defensive end and potential hybrid type defender can use the Senior Bowl as his last opportunity to show his abilities. Although he never approached those sack numbers again as a Scarlet Knight, he is a better football player than the raw talent he was out of high school.

Turay came to Rutgers as an under-recruited, under the radar defensive end whose only other scholarship offer (according to Rivals.com) came from James Madison, an FCS program.

Turay, who immigrated to the United States at the age of 3, learned football by watching YouTube videos and practicing in his bedroom.

He switched from basketball to football as a senior at Barringer’s after transferring from Newark Tech which did not have a football team.

All of the switching, and lack of much organized football made Turay an unknown talent and Rutgers took advantage.

In 2013, then R.U. defensive coordinator Joe Rossi offered Turay based on his potential, which he flashed as a freshman when he was almost strictly utilized to rush the passer on obvious passing downs.

The Senior Bowl marks the culmination of an improbable journey for Turay, one that could end up in the NFL.

There is precedent of course for the Senior Bowl as an opportunity for players who haven’t garnered much national attention.

Last year’s Senior Bowl was the breakout for possible New York Giants future quarterback Davis Webb who earned MVP honors.

East Carolina product Zay Jones put himself on the NFL radar as well with his performance in the game. Although Jones had put up immense numbers, there was the concern about the level of competition he faced in the AAC. His display in the postseason game helped him get drafted by the Buffalo Bills.

Two years back, Dak Prescott put himself in the quarterback draft conversation with his play in the Senior Bowl upping his stake in the NFL draft.

Most notably, current Kansas City Chief’s electrifying rookie running back Kareem Hunt got his name on the map with an 100+ yard game at the Senior Bowl.

So for Turay, even if he isn’t drafted, or doesn’t up his stock, the opportunity to play a post season game is the culmination of an amazing journey for a guy who had exactly two options when being recruited out of high school. However, should he have a great performance, what a story it would be for a man who learned football by watching YouTube.