|The prize defensive recruits of 2009: Justin Turner (#2) and William Campbell (#73)|
Massillon, Ohio 2009 five-star recruit Justin (J.T.) Turner committed to Michigan over OSU very early in the recruiting cycle. He stayed firm in his commitment all through the process and, as I recall, was one of the first players in the 2009 class to fax in his LOI on NSD. So it was surprising when Turner showed up to fall camp late and out of shape after taking awhile to pass his Ohio Graduation Test. These minor concerns turned into red flags when Turner failed to see action during the disastrous defensive back situation his freshman season and redshirted. Before long, J.T. was in worse shape than Rich Rodriguez, left the program and transferred to West Virginia.
Turner’s stint at WVU didn’t last long, either, and he became interested in attending Notre Dame College at Ohio. I spoke with an assistant coach at the college who said, “We thought for sure he was going to enroll, but then he dropped off the map.” After that, Turner showed interest in UCLA, eventually enrolled at Scottsdale (Ariz.) Junior College, and now is verbally committed to the University of Hawaii.
If past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior—which it is—then Turner’s shot at living up to his recruiting hype appears to be slim. How conflicting must it feel to have an extraordinary talent at something yet not have a passion for it? Here’s to hoping that Turner finds a good football/life balance while getting an education and avoiding trouble. Who knows, maybe Turner's change in environment will ignite an excitement for football and necessary football-related activities.