Airline head coach Bo Meeks had a lot to like about his team's seven-on-seven play this summer.
He particularly liked it when receiver Trey Turner caught the ball one-handed off his own tip for a touchdown in the championship game of the Louisiana College tournament against Evangel.
For Meeks, it was just one example that his once-injured receiver was clearly feeling like himself again. "I've been so impressed with the maturity he's shown," Meeks said. "He had a great summer." Turner is poised to have a strong season after missing his entire junior season with an ACL injury he suffered in last year's scrimmage. When you ask Turner if he's at 100 percent, he chooses to say 110 percent. Not only did Turner recover, he came back quicker than expected. His recovery was five months when doctors told him it would be six. By February, Turner was back in the gym with his thigh "weak as a noodle." "I took it pretty hard, but I wanted to recover," said Turner, who was one of three receivers who suffered early-season injuries last season. Now, he's squatted 345 pounds four times and is still ahead of schedule. The only visible sign of his October surgery is a small scar on his right knee. "As much as it hurts me for him to miss a year, I think it was a blessing in disguise because it allowed our other receivers to come in and get a lot of game reps," Meeks said. "Now, we're sitting with three guys with a huge amount of experience." For Turner, sports has always been an out of sorts. He said he's seen his father twice in his life, but his mother, Katherine, remains his biggest fan. He writes her name on his cleats before every game. He went through a "tough battle" when he lived with his mom and aunt briefly in Cherokee Park, but sports again helped him. "I think for a lot of the guys we have, football gives them No. 1 a family and No. 2 structure," Meeks said. "Both of those things are important. Trey is just an outstanding young man. He's a great teammate." Despite his time away from the field, Turner's chemistry with quarterback Hayden Hildebrand hasn't wavered. They've been classmates since sixth grade. "He's a great guy," said Turner, who started his sophomore year. "He puts the ball where you need it. He just makes your job a whole lot easier." The Vikings' receiver depth adds versatility, and even though Turner is the shortest receiver at 5-foot-9, he's the speedy deep-threat guy. When he went to Louisiana-Lafayette and Louisiana Tech camps this summer, he said he ran a low 4.4 40. "Right now, he's the biggest deep threat we have," Hildebrand said. "He's got great speed and good hands. He's got all the things you look for in a wide receiver." Turner, who also participates in track and basketball, anticipates seeing double coverages early in the season, but he said it will only open things up for seniors Logan Williams, Chris Stinnett and Laterious Pouncy. But a more-focused Turner is still ready to show the potential he couldn't show last season. "I tell people all the time. If you have this kind of injury, whatever you put into your recovery, that's what you get out of it," Turner said. "I just thank God every day for giving me the opportunity to come back and play the game that I love." Connect with Kelly Morris on Twitter at @Kelly_Mo.