March 15, 2010

Oklahoma cornerback has Mississippi ties

The trip from Oklahoma City to Norman, Okla., is short and easy.

That won't necessarily help Bob Stoops' Sooners, however, with hotly-pursued cornerback Josh Turner.

Oklahoma is listed in Turner's top six choices, but much of the rest of the list has a distinctive southern feel. And there's a reason for that, one that could have a couple of Southeastern Conference programs very much in the hunt for Turner's college services.

Turner's mother, Rochato Turner Benjamin, is from Weir, Miss., and the 6-foot, 185-pound cornerback from Oklahoma City (Millwood) still has plenty of family in the small town in the northern part of the Magnolia State. So when Ole Miss offered Turner a scholarship earlier this year, the Rebels had his attention.

"They're high on my list," Turner said. "They're in my top six. I want to go check out their campus and get to know their coaches more this summer. I like their style of play and I like their coaches. I want to play down south and play in the SEC."

Oklahoma and Ole Miss are joined by Alabama, Miami, Texas and Ohio State on Turner's list of top choices. All but the Buckeyes have offered scholarships, and they're likely not far behind, given the rest of Turner's offer sheet, one that already includes Arizona, Arkansas, Auburn, Colorado, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, Stanford, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Tulsa, Washington and Wisconsin.

"I want to play corner, so I want to play for the ones who coach great technique," Turner said when asked what specific traits he's looking for in a college home. "I want to play bump right off the line. I like man (coverage), cover three and cover four. And I want to see the environment around the school. I want to see if I could live there after I graduate college."

Turner, who was named to the 2011 250-member watch list last month, accounted for 956 yards of total offense last season, but his future is clearly on the defensive side of the ball. He has been clocked in the 40-yard dash at 4.45 seconds and he's well on his way to easily meeting academic requirements, as he has a 3.97 grade-point average and a 20 on the ACT.

Turner said he's planning to take an unofficial visit to Missouri this weekend for one of the Tigers' spring practices. The trip to Columbia won't be the last of his offseason adventures. He and another 10 prospects are trying to raise money to take a tour of schools in the South and the East this summer. One of the planned stops is Ole Miss.

"It should be nice if we can raise the money and stuff," Turner said.

Turner said he's in no hurry to make a decision.

"I'm going to take all of my official visits first," he said.

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