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College football: ASU punter keeps eligibility despite agent, NFL Combine work

June 4 (UPI) -- The NCAA has restored collegiate eligibility for Arizona State football player Michael Turk, despite the fact the Sun Devils punter declared for the NFL Draft, participated in the Scouting Combine and hired an agent.

Turk and Arizona State appealed to the NCAA to have the eligibility restored, citing the impact of the coronavirus on his opportunity to impress NFL scouts in person. Turk could have showcased his skills at Arizona State's pro day, but it was canceled due to the pandemic.

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"I left college early to pursue a professional career and that didn't work out," Turk said Wednesday.

"I've been working hard and praying about it and now, due to COVID-19 and extenuating circumstances, I've actually been granted my two years of eligibility back to play college football and I will be going back to Arizona State University."

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The Sun Devils punter now has two years of collegiate eligibility remaining.

Turk led the Pac-12 with 67 punts for an average of 46 yards in 13 games last season, and tied for 11th in college football in yards per punt. He set the single-game NCAA record with 63 yards per attempt in last season's opener against Kent State.

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Turk is the nephew of both longtime NFL punter Matt Turk and former NFL offensive lineman Dan Turk. The Sun Devils punter was not selected in April's NFL Draft and did not sign with an NFL team as an undrafted free agent.

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Turk was a redshirt sophomore last season after he transferred to Arizona State from Lafayette College. He sat out in 2018 after the transfer to the Sun Devils.

Two punters were selected in the 2020 NFL Draft -- Texas A&M's Braden Mann by the New York Jets in the sixth round and Syracuse's Sterling Hofrichter by the Atlanta Falcons in the seventh.

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