February 4, 2010

Turner: Oklahoma's Junior of the Year

In the fall of 2007 Millwood's coaching staff was in the midst of a rebuilding season with the graduation the previous spring of current division one-standouts Gerald Jones, Tramain Swindall, and a lengthy cast of other stars that helped the Falcons win another state title. While the 2007 season didn't go by in typical Millwood fashion they found the next era of great Falcons.

Early on many wondered if it was Kevonte Richardson, a quarterback in the mold of Jones, that would lead them back to their seemingly rightful place deep in the 2A state playoffs. While the now-Senior Richardson is heavily recruited and among the state's top juniors it's been another player who has stepped up to take on the leadership role for the flying Falcons.

That player is Josh Turner, SoonerScoop.com's junior of the year, our annual award to the state's top junior prospect.

It was a junior season that saw Turner accumulate nearly 20-yards per catch on 33-receptions.

However it's on the defensive side of the ball that schools like Oklahoma, Nebraska, Michigan, Notre Dame, Auburn, Arkansas, and many others have taken a shine to the 6-foot, 185-pound cornerback prospect.

For all of the talent that has come from the halls of Millwood, including former Oklahoma State All-American and San Francisco 49ers first round draft pick Rashaun Woods, it's hard for anyone to recall a prospect more heralded than Turner.

According to Millwod offensive coordinator, and recruiting coordinator, Kevin Cox it's also hard to remember a more unassuming superstar.

"You would think that a kid who receives an offer from two of the biggest programs of all-time, like Oklahoma and Nebraska, would get a little bit of the big head especially at 15-years old but he has kept a level head and his work ethic has only gotten stronger as time has gone on," Cox explained.

"I would say that he handled himself like he did when he had zero offers. He is focused on school and maintaining his 3.9 GPA."

Turner has been the next big thing in Oklahoma City since a sophomore year that had college coaches salivating for the opportunity to recruit him and now with the class of 2010 signed and sealed to the colleges of their choosing he realizes the spotlight is truly on him.

With the title of the state's top player and the mountain of expectations that have been laid at his feet it would be easy to expect him to crumble. However it's a burden he embraces.

"Well for starters I just have to thank my coaches, particularly coach Cox, because if it wasn't for them seeing the potential in me then none of this would be possible," said Turner. "And it's great to be able to be named as one of the best players in the state. That's why I play the game because I love to compete and it means a lot for me to go out there every Friday night with the passion and the heart of a Millwood Falcon.

"So for me this is a great honor, I accept the responsibility of owning up to it and showing the state, better yet the country, that Josh Turner is a true stud."

The most interesting part about the interview with Turner was the reality that it was given while working. That may seem a small thing but while carrying a near 4.0-GPA and starring in basketball and football for the Falcons he carries a job that often keeps him working until the early a.m. hours before school.

Such maturity is part of what the Millwood staff has raved about for years but with big dreams in his future Turner isn't anywhere near a finished product on or off the field.

"He understands that a lot of eyes are on him and he wants to show everyone just how skilled and talented he is," said Cox. "He is our leader, there is no question about it, on the field, off the field and in the classroom.

"I mean this is a kid that made a 20 on his ACT as an eighth grader and wants to be a cardiologist.

"A kid with goals like that will do nothing but succeed."

Others Considered: Kendal Thompson, Dylan Dismuke, and Tyrequek Zimmerman.

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