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June 19, 2010

Role reversal: Horns land Oklahoma's top player

After the 2010 football season, there's a chance Texas could lose what amounts to three starting cornerbacks from one of the nation's most talented secondaries. Curtis Brown and Chykie Brown will be seniors next fall before taking their talents to the NFL, and Aaron Williams is a player that will have a chance to be a high draft pick in next year's NFL draft if he decides to come out after his upcoming junior season.

With that in mind, one of the top priorities of the Texas Longhorn coaching staff in the 2011 recruiting year is to find blue-chip defensive backs that could step right in as true freshman and gain early playing time.

On Saturday afternoon, the Horns took great strides towards accomplishing their goals by picking up a commitment from arguably their top target at the cornerback position.

Cornerback Josh Turner, a Rivals100 member out of Oklahoma City Millwood, called Mack Brown on Saturday to give the Texas coaching staff a verbal pledge.

"I felt like it was time," Turner said. "I figured, why wait until the end of summer, when I've kind of known where I was going to go? I felt like it was the best fit for me."

The Longhorns have been on top of Turner's list ever since he made his way to Austin for an unofficial visit for a UT junior day in February. Turner said Nebraska gave him something to think about on a recent visit to Lincoln, but Texas' overall package continued to win out every time Turner would weigh his options.

"It's just the coaches and the program itself. The atmosphere around it, it felt like home away from home," Turner said.

A 6-0, 175-pounder who ranks as the country's No. 2 cornerback prospect, Turner's a terrific athlete between the chalk but he's also a young man that brings a lot of character to the table. In fact, Millwood assistant Kevin Cox said Turner's personality and maturity surpass even his terrific athletic skills.

"He's a kid that is never going to do the wrong thing. He knows especially now with the kind of podium he's on, he knows people are looking at him from every direction," Cox said. "He'll just keep doing what he's been doing, doing the things that got him to where he is.

"When all the offers started coming in, he never lost his composure. He's kept a level head and he's worked his tail off."

Turner was a leader for the Millwood track and basketball teams that won state titles this past season, and he's a player the Millwood coaching staff uses as an example for its other student-athletes.

"Texas is getting a kid that is 17 years old, but handles himself like he's 24 or 25. He's all about family, he does things the right way," Cox said. "He's a great example for his brothers, and a great example for his teammates. When we have a kid not doing things right, we tell them to go hang out with Josh and do what he's doing."

Turner's also strong in the classroom, having been qualified for college since taking the ACT in the 8th grade. He carries a 3.97 GPA, and he's also considerate and loyal to his teammates.

Case in point … one time, Turner put in a call to coach Cox asking Cox to let him into the locker room. Coach Cox assumed Turner had forgotten something in the fieldhouse, but Turner informed him he simply wanted to get into the field house to clean the locker room up and redo the area where the players hang out.

"He's responsible. He's going to do whatever's asked. He's going to do everything as far as filmwork, practice, weights, and then he's going to do some extra work," Cox said.

Turner becomes the Longhorns' 21st commitment of the 2011 recruiting class, and he hopes to maintain the strong level of defensive back play that Texas has enjoyed under Duane Akina.

"I'm just going to keep the tradition going. Most of the players coach Akina has coached have gone to the league. I'm going to follow in their footsteps, do what I've been doing and much more," Turner said.

Ranked as the nation's No. 55 prospect overall, Turner plans to make a return trip to Austin sometime this summer. He was unable to attend a UT mini-camp last weekend due to last minute changes to his family's schedule, but he plans to head back down to the Forty Acres when his and his family's schedule allows a visit.


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