In many respects, Creekside High School cornerback De’Antre Turman followed in the footsteps of Georgia cornerback Damian Swann.
“He kind of took some of the same steps that I took throughout little league, throughout middle school, throughout high school,” Swann said. “The kid had a bright future.”
Swann will return to the Atlanta area on Saturday for Turman’s funeral.
De’Antre “Tre Tre” Turman died after sustaining a spinal cord injury in a preseason game while playing for Creekside High on Aug. 16.
The 16-year old junior fractured vertebrae in his upper spinal cord, investigators in the Fulton County’s Medical Examiner’s office told the Associated Press.
The funeral is scheduled for Saturday morning in Austell. Swann said he’ll be excused from practice.
Swann, who played at Grady High, and Turman both grew up around Ben Hill Recreation Center. Swann said he first knew Turman when he was about six and Swann was 10.
“I used to mentor `Tre Tre,” Swann said Friday. “We played at the same park and he always grew up under me. I used to watch him play all the time. …We communicated often, we talked a lot. It was one of those things that was really hard for me when I did get the phone call or when I did wake up to all those missed calls the next morning.”
Swann tweeted last Saturday morning: “Today was the first time I shed tears in a while.”
Swann said he views what happened to a player he called “my brother” as a freak accident. Turman reportedly had a scholarship offer from Kentucky.
“They said it was just a routine tackle, heads up and it was something that just happened,” Swann said. “It’s kind of hard to think about because it kind of brings fear into people and it makes people have injuries playing scared. That’s how a lot of people get hurt.”
Georgia freshman cornerback Shaq Wiggins, from Sandy Creek, also grew up around Ben Hill, where hundreds came Sunday for a vigil.
“God,” Swann said, “has a plan for everybody.”