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Louisville football is going to need to find a new kicker before it takes the field against Georgia Tech on the first day of September. The Cardinals lost their three-year starter to the transfer portal earlier this week, and the announcement came with an important decision that created a lot of speculation.
James Turner, who made 47 of 59 field goal attempts in 42 games over four seasons, holds the school record for field goal percentage in a single season after going 20-of-22 last season. He most recently hit three field goals in Louisville’s spring game last Friday, including a 50+ yarder.
After Calloway didn’t pick up the first, Brohm sent out James Turner to attempt a 50+ yarder into the wind. Turner steps up and kicks it right down the middle with a few extra yards to spare. It’s gonna be really nice having Turner back. pic.twitter.com/8zqejQLcte— UofL Sports News (@UofL_Updates) April 24, 2023
Four days later, Turner entered the transfer portal with two years of eligibility remaining.
His decision came with a specific distinction.
Turner is listed as a ‘Do Not Contact,’ which is as simple as it sounds. It is a request for other programs not to reach out with an offer.
Players that enter the transfer portal check this specific box so that they are not inundated with interest from schools that they do not want to attend. In turn, they can reach out to the schools that they are interested in and go from there.
Often times, though, the ‘Do Not Contact’ condition has an underlying message. The athlete that enters the transfer portal with that tag might already know where he is headed next.
That was an immediate thought after Turner entered the portal. Is he leaving Louisville because another program had already contacted him to join their program? Is NIL money a factor?
Asked not to be contacted? That sounds like he already has a spot AKA tampering.— 〽️~BlueCrue~〽️ (@foospro) April 25, 2023
If he ends up at Cincinnati can you say tampering. Because he knows where he’s going— uncleollie (@uncleolly) April 25, 2023
No contacts = red flag for “Tampering”— BillDoodle54 (@billdoodle54) April 25, 2023
He was a good kicker and this is a loss. However it also sounds like he already negotiated with another school to be their primary kicker. Yes that is against NCAA rules but the NCAA only punishes Louisville.— Flipping_Genius (@gamma8Flip) April 25, 2023
Welp he knows where he’s going. Lol— Ray “Raxx” Crosby (@DapperDandyKy16) April 25, 2023
It could be true that Turner already had a destination in mind when he hit the transfer portal. Tampering is a real thing in college football and it is more prevalent than ever. Another program could have made a push for Turner to leave, behind-the-scenes, before he even hit the portal.
It could also be true that Turner knows his value and didn’t want to get bombarded with texts, calls and emails from programs that are not going to land his commitment. There is not an abundance of good college kickers, and programs all over the country are in constant search of a reliable leg. Turner may not have felt like dealing with the fallout.
Either way, for this conversation to be had over a kicker is rather amusing. Imagining an NIL collective at a school without a clear starting kicker get together, talk through their options on some giant big board and ultimately target Turner is a fantastic visual image.
Is that what happened? We may never know, but it’s funny to pretend.