Jermaine Keller (center in white T-shirt), the guardian of Creekside High School player De'Antre Turman, is consoled by his son Jamari Benning (standing in red jacket) and Dion Parris (in red), the aunt of Turman, at a vigil at Ben Hill Recreation Center on Sunday, Aug. 18, 2013, in Atlanta.
“He lived by football, family, friends, and God,”said friend Jamari Benning, 18. “That’s all Tre Tre was thinking about. He always had a goal to always be great. He was never stingy, selfish; he was just a good person and a role model. He never had any doubt in God. He always kept his faith.”
Hundreds of his former teammates, coaches, friends and family filled the stands at the Ben Hill Recreation Center stadium Sunday night to pay their respects. Turman’s father James walked along the front row of the concrete bleachers when he arrived to speak to De’Antre’s former teammates and coaches.
Tre Tre has gone to another place to play another game,” James said. “All he wanted to do was make his daddy proud. I want each and every one of y’all to continue on for my son.”
Those close to Turman remember him not only as an amazing football player on the field, but a dedicated individual off the field.
Tarsha Keller, became Turman’s legal guardian when he was in the fifth grade at the request of his father, who did not want him to continue to live in what he thought was a dangerous neighborhood after his cousin was killed close by.
Keller thanked James for trusting her with his son, whose mother had died when he was four.
She said seeing a stadium full of individuals who had been touched by De’Antre in some way meant a lot to her.
“It’s a wonderful blessing to know that he has touched so many lives,” she said. “He was a blessing to all of us.”
Friend Joshua Poole, 16, said he prayed with Turman prior to the scrimmage Friday night.
“He was dedicated to what he was doing,” Poole said. “He kept his head in the books, focused at all times, determined, very ambitious. I knew Tre Tre since I was 3 years old. He’s my brother from another mother.”
Turman, 16, played cornerback and had already received a scholarship offer from the University of Kentucky.
Demarcus Morgan, 16, said Turman was always striving to beat his childhood struggles of finding a way out of his neighborhood.
“He put it in his head to try to get out of the hood and persevered through the struggle,” Morgan said. “For him to die for something he loved, I couldn’t even be mad because he was doing something he loved. God has a plan for us and the rest of the family. Maybe this is just what we need to bring us closer as a family.”
Turman’s friend Terrance Montgomery, 17, said they planned to meet each other after the scrimmage.
“And after the game, I got that phone call and my heart dropped,” Montgomery said. “He would translate positive energy on the field and in the books and study and stay focused. He dedicated his whole life basically to his (late) mother. I feel like everything happens for a reason and he actually loved his mother so he’s in a better place.”
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