A lot of things about South Carolina stood out to A.J. Turner during the recruiting process.
Coaches’ honesty set the tone throughout, according to the incoming freshman running back from Clifton, Va. That started with feedback from running backs coach Everette Sands to Turner as a sophomore at one of USC’s camps.
“Coach Sands told me I wasn’t big enough, so they wouldn’t offer me,” Turner recalled. “My junior season, I worked hard in the weight room to gain weight and gain mass. Then I just played football.”
Sands extended an offer – Turner’s first from the SEC – prior to Centreville High winning a state title in 2013.
Turner will graduate from Centreville next week enroll at USC in time for the July academic session. He anticipates being able to compete for a spot on special teams in addition to running back.
BY THE NUMBERS
Height/weight: 5-foot-10, 185 pounds
Stats: Missed early part of season with wrist injury. In six games, had 64 carries for 743 yards (123.8 average) with 11 touchdowns.
Rating: Three-star prospect, according to 247Sports Composite
▪ Committed to USC on television at Nike’s The Opening in Oregon, choosing the Gamecocks over Virginia and Michigan State, among others
▪ Worked out at 2014 Gamecock Showcase with running back Mon Denson and helped recruit him to be part of the signing class
▪ Played in the International Bowl in Texas
▪ “This place is unbelievable, the people around here. The family atmosphere is unbeatable. ... I love the football coaches, the academics and the university itself. I just love everything about South Carolina, the town, the people and the college itself and the history. And the football, the SEC is big-time football.”
▪ “I run with power and also have a great amount of speed. I think I have really great vision as well to be able to see the holes before they open up and have the ability to cut back.”
▪ “They met the criteria that I have. Good academics and academic support, a campus ministry. I’m big on church. And a good football program with stability and bowl games.”
Running backs coach Everette Sands: “He’s a very explosive young man. He didn’t have a full season because he hurt his wrist, but his first game back, he touched the ball five times and had four touchdowns. He’s a young man we expect to get in the mix in the return game and help us in the running back unit.”
Scout.com: “A very instinctive runner with great vision who is a threat to go the distance every time he touches the football.”