Steve Spurrier and the Gamecocks got some great news when Centreville (VA) running back A.J. Turner announced his commitment to the South Carolina football program on a live ESPNU telecast. At the time of his commitment, Turner had his list narrowed down to Clemson, Michigan State, Ohio State and Virginia Tech.
“I definitely think that the coaches have been real with me from the very beginning, even when I was at their one-day camp,” Turner said. “They didn’t offer me then, but they came and offered me the day before my state championship game and that really got me hyped. I just love everything about South Carolina. I love the town, the people, the college itself, the history, the football because it’s SEC big-time football and just the opportunity I’m going into to play.”
Turner is a jack of all trades kind of a guy. An athlete with incredible versatility and the ability to excel at multiple positions. While Turner was recruited as a running back, he is also capable of lining up in the slot, and will be expected to return kicks. He may never see the opportunity in Columbia but he has taken snaps at defensive back, and is familiar with the position.
“I’m going to be playing running back, kick return and if they need me on defense, I’ll be able to go on defense, but I’m being recruited as a running back,” Turner added. “But if they need me anywhere, I’ll just go wherever.”
Over the last six months, Turner’s recruiting stock shot through the roof, after he posted a remarkable statline for his junior campaign: 1,287 rushing yards, 410 receiving yards and 32 total touchdowns. All of that came en route to an undefeated run to the Virgina 6A state title, with Turner leading the way.
When some players make commits, there are doubts, concerns and other factors that sometimes force them to de-commit or reconsider. That said, it’s always encouraging to see a player who is fully certain of himself and the decision he has made.
“There’s a lot of good colleges out there so just choosing and deciding which one you want to go to. There’s a certain feeling that you have in the school you know you want to go to,” Turner added. “You just really have to go through your filter list and criteria and South Carolina outnumbered everybody, like seven to two, so I thought it was really obvious. I’ve been praying about it for God to make it obvious to see where I should go and it’s definitely the University of South Carolina.”
Turner is now the fifth Centreville senior to commit to a Division I school, joining Jordan Brooks (defensive line) and Charles Tutt (All-Met second team) who pledged their future to James Madison; his backfield mate Taylor Boose who committed to play running back for Cincinnati; and a key member of his protection, Justin Skule, committed to play college ball at Vanderbilt.
Rivals. com currently has Turner rated as a three-star, but a breakout season next fall could change that. You don’t get offers from schools like Clemson, Michigan State, Virginia Tech and Ohio State without serious potential at the next level.