DE Turay poised to help Barringer improve
For some form of evidence that Barringer's football program is prepared to reverse a long-time losing course, one needs to look no further than the surprising saga of Kemoko Turay.
The 6-5, 215-pound senior is yet to play a single down for the Newark school, yet he has already established himself a promising enough prospect to land a scholarship offer from Rutgers last month. The highly athletic Turay--a track star and basketball player--projected as a defensive end, issued a verbal commitment to the Scarlet Knights on Thursday.
Yes, things sure seem to be looking up for the Blue Bears, who finished 1-9 in each of the past two seasons and have not won more than four in any of the last eight. Turay's contributions are expected to be a big part of a Barringer turnaround, yet he is just one of several reasons for hope as the 2012 season nears.
"We've been doing a real good job in our seven-on-sevens, we've got a lot of guys working hard and a lot of things starting to fall into place," head coach Darnell Mangan said. He will begin his third season in September with a majority of his starters back from 2011, including quarterback Trinidad Luciano, running back/linebacker Keir Minor, wideout/DB Jaquan Pinnix and running back/linebacker Elijah Battle.
Then add to that mix Turay, who has not played organized football since his freshman season at East Orange Campus, though was a sensation at a Rutgers one-day camp June 25. Turay attends Newark Tech, but is allowed to play at Barringer since it does not have a football team. He is the first cousin of former Weequahic and Temple defensive standout Amara Kamara.
"Kemoko's broad jump was 10 feet, his 40 time was good and he did an excellent job on the agility drills," Mangan said. "Most importantly, when he did the one-on-ones he killed it. At the end of the camp, they offered him."
Turay became the first Barringer player in over 25 years to land a big time Division 1 offer, but he is not the only Blue Bear attracting college attention this summer. Minor has offers from Stony Brook, James Madison and Wagner, according to Mangan, and Pinnix and Battle also have received interest from Stony Brook and others.
"This is a dream come true for Kemoko," Mangan said. "He's played basketball and track his whole life, but he's always wanted to play football. He'll play weakside defensive end for us this season and that's what he'll play at Rutgers, too. He'll line up on the weak side and chase things down."
Turay was the Essex County champion in the triple jump and also North Jersey, Section 2, Group 1 winner in the triple jump and long jump last spring for Newark Tech. Last winter, he helped the Terriers to a 20-10 record as a forward.
"I've just got him playing defense right now; we won't really need him on offense," Mangan said. "I've spoken to Coach (Marion) Bell at East Orange about him, and he remembers him well from his freshman season. Coach Bell said the QB's going to have to throw the ball in three seconds, or Kemoko's going to get to him."
Mike Kinney covers football for MSG Varsity. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeKinneyHS