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Thursday, October 16, 2014

In half a year, Andrew Turzilli goes from Kansas backup to Big Ten

(AP photo)
By Tyler Barto
Twitter: @Tyler_Barto

PISCATAWAY — When Andrew Turzilli finally decided he would transfer from Kansas, it set in motion a six-month process that eventually landed him into the second-most snaps as Rutgers' No. 2 receiver.

But in mid-April — late by transfer standards — Turzilli a soon-to-be fifth-year senior, was still saddled on the second team of a program that has historically been among the worst in the power conferences.

"For me, I had to make sure I could graduate first," Turzilli said Monday. "That's how you're eligible (to transfer). After spring ball and the spring game, I was going through the post-spring evaluations and I didn't feel like that was the best spot for me for the next season."

So Turzilli reached out to a core group of advisers that handled disseminating his tape to programs in need of a receiver. He namely dealt with a former Kansas grad assistant who had taken root elsewhere.

With schools from the Big 12 not options — Kansas likely would have blocked a transfer — Turzilli trimmed his list to an SEC school and Rutgers. He took a visit to Rutgers, where he was hosted by tight ends coach Anthony Campanile.

"There was stability here," said Turzilli, who targeted schools with passing-based offenses. "I felt like it was a great program here, which I hadn't experienced my previous four years."

On Sept. 29, Kansas fired head coach Charlie Weis, who went 6-22 and won only one Big 12 game in three seasons. At the time, Turzilli declined comment. 

Rutgers begins a home-and-home series with Kansas next season, when Turzilli will already have graduated.

Rutgers has employed a fifth-year transfer the past three seasons. Though each contributed, head coach Kyle Flood considers it an inexact science.

"You do your research," Flood said. "You talk to high school coaches and you get a feel for what kind of person he is. But until he's in your locker room, you never really know how he's going to assimilate."

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