New Mexican behemoth offensive linemen Matthew Hegarty isn't the only out-of-state and national prospect who may not be able to make it down to Austin for the second Junior Day because of basketball commitments -- Oklahoma City cornerback Josh Turner would like to head down I-35 to the Texas campus on Saturday. For Turner to make the trip ($), his high school basketball team will have to win games on Thursday and Friday to avoid playing on Saturday, otherwise Turner will have to put off his visit.
Like the great majority of future collegiate cornerbacks, Turner plays both ways for Oklahoma City Millwood, starring as a receiver and cornerback. His speed is apparent in all three phases of the game, but what stands out about Turner with the ball in his hands is that he has exceptional balance and willingness to take hits and pick up tough yardage. His balance is reminiscent of current Texas cornerback Curtis Brown, who has renowned in high school for being able to keep his feet in extreme circumstances, while his toughness recalls another current Longhorn, DJ Monroe.
Turner's frame is much closer to Brown than it is to Monroe, as both Turner and Brown are about six feet tall and possess lanky builds, though Turner may have even smaller wrists, elbows, and knees -- his Rivals page lists him at 185 pounds, but there's no way that Turner goes any more than 160 at the most and probably won't be able to add a great deal of weight to that frame in college.
However, his aforementioned toughness with the ball extends to the defensive side of the ball, where Turner shows enough to allay any concerns about his tackling ability. Turner doesn't have the frame of a kid like Avery Walls, but he shows an ability to use good tackling form to impart force on ballcarriers, using his momentum and knee bend to wrap up opponents and drive them to the ground -- a young Curtis Brown he is not. Basically, Turner probably won't have to add much mass to tackle well in college because he understands how to use the mass he already possesses.
The physicailty is a nice benefit for a cornerback, but it's speed, explosiveness and fluid hips that make a top-notch player at the position and Turner appears to have those qualities on film. On offense, his explosiveness makes him a big-play threat whenever he has the ball in his hands and on defense it does and will allow him to run with eite receivers on deep routes. Turner's film doesn't show him flipping his hips a great deal, but he does look fluid when he has to and shows elite-level recovery and initial acceleration -- he clearly gets to top speed in less than three steps, allowing him to break on routes and helps make up for any mistakes he might make. Once he gets himself into the vicinity using his speed, his ball skills carry over from the offensive side to the defensive side, allowing him to finish plays with interceptions.
Possessor of around 20 scholarship offers, Turner hasn't yet decided whether he wants to stay close to home or venture out of state, but rumors indicate that Texas should be able to make the initial cut when Turner does decide to narrow what is currently an extensive offer down to a handful of favorites.
It's hard to foresee a scenario in which Turner does not receive a scholarship offer this weekend if his basketball commitments allow him to make it to Austin. It's equally hard, if not harder, to foresee a scenario in which he commits to Texas this weekend -- Turner plans on making a decision some time in the fall ($). When that happens, the Longhorns have a strong shot to be in the mix if they decide to hold a spot in the secondary. Of course, there are no guarantees that there will be room at that point.