- Associated Press - Monday, July 14, 2014

ENID, Okla. (AP) - Turner Reed almost certainly could be preparing for his first season of college football right now.

Seven months ago, the Chisholm graduate was a havoc-wreaking, two-way lineman; a 5-foot-10, 210-pound battering ram that anchored the interior of the Longhorns’ best team in years.

Instead, he’s a member of the Army Reserve and in the midst of Advanced Individual Training (AIT) at Fort Leonard Wood in the Missouri Ozarks, working toward military certification as a construction diesel mechanic, one 4 a.m.-to-9 p.m. day at a time.

It wasn’t exactly a typical decision.

An NCAA figure pins the number of high school football players that get a shot to play with a scholarship at around one in 16. If he’d have pursued recruitment, Reed likely would have been one of them.

“I think there’s definitely a place in higher football for a guy like him,” Chisholm football coach Joey Reinart told the Enid News & Eagle (http://bit.ly/1qVLUPo).

But following his junior season, Reed, 17 years old when he made it official in November, 2012, enlisted as an army reservist.

His reasons at the time were simple enough, though surprisingly foresighted for a high-schooler: his dad did the same, and he knew it would be a résumé builder later in life.

But the explanations are more profound after almost two years as a military man - a term that started with a figuratively eye-opening drill sergeant berating straight off the bus at Fort Benning in Georgia, and a literally eye-opening one the next morning, sirens and bullhorns jarring awake a bunker of sleeping ensigns.

“I wouldn’t change anything,” he said. “Everything happens for a reason. God has a plan for everyone.”

“Me enlisting must of been part of the plan . I don’t wanna be living in America and not have something to do with it. I want to protect it.”

Even the first 24 hours of his military career, shouts and horn blasts included, have been similarly romanticized in Reed’s own recollection: “It was awesome.”

In a fitting twist, Reed’s change of perspective - plus having a rigorous run of basic military training under his belt - likely played a large part of what made him a college-level football player.

When he returned for football camp before his senior season but after basic, Reed was a changed person, and would soon after be a changed player.

“You realize how undisciplined you were when you left,” said Reed, who’d by then developed a habit of standing at attention with principals and coaches. “I was raised in a good home and treated people with respect, but you don’t realize how out of whack you were until you get back.”

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