Versatility Personified

In his weekly recruiting column for Hawgs Illustrated, Dudley E. Dawson catches up with East Poinsett County two-sport star A.J. Turner (6-2, 200), a linebacker who recently got an offer from the Arkansas football program. This story is free and sponsored by the Arkansas Toyota Dealers. Click on the Arkansas Toyota banner.

It's not often that a young man can make 25 tackles in one game on a football field and grab 27 rebounds in a single game on the basketball court.

But that is precisely what East Poinsett County standout A.J. Turner (6-2, 200, 4.6) – who got an Arkansas football scholarship offer last week - got accomplished in pair of contests in the final two months of 2010.

The 25 tackles came in a home game against Conway Christian while the 27 rebounds came against Kennett in the Barry Pruitt Holiday Classic in Jonesboro.

"I'm just a ball hawk in both sports and try to get to every ball, be it on the football field or the basketball court," Turner said. "I just try to go hard all the time and that usually works out for me."

Turner – viewed as a college linebacker prospect by the Razorbacks - is one of four in-state juniors that have already landed offers from head coach Bobby Petrino and his staff.

Warren wide receiver Jalen Cobb (6-1, 180) and Pottsville offensive lineman Jeremy Ward (6-4, 275) have already committed to Arkansas while Jonesboro wideout Zac Brooks (6-2, 185) also has a Razorback offer.

"Arkansas has a great program going and I have been up there to see their facilities and am very impressed," Turner said. "I was very excited about getting the offer from the Razorbacks, but I am not going to be in a hurry in making a decision."

Turner had a state-leading 171 tackles this past season, 28 of them that were lost yardage. He also forced five fumbles and took an interception back for a score.

He also rushed 63 times for 457 yards and 11 touchdowns and caught 30 passes for 670 yards and another 11 scores.

"I get to play a lot of different positions for my high school team and I get a lot of touches," Turner said. "It's fun playing on both sides of the ball and making things happen."

Arkansas sees Turner as a linebacker, the spot he loves the most.

"I love being a linebacker," Turner said. "I love contact and blowing people up so the best place to do that from is linebacker. It's the best place to be if you love hitting and getting hit and I do."

Turner is averaging 16 points on the basketball court while teammates with Arkansas basketball signee Rashad Madden.

"He talks to me about coming up there to Arkansas, too," Turner said. "I actually haven't talked to Marcus since he went over there to play, but I am sure he will be talking to me about being a Razorback."

Madden and Turner have led EPC to a 24-3 mark this season and a 15-0 record in 2A-3 district play.

The Warriors thrashed Riverside 98-53 last Friday while draining 18 3-pointers.

EPC has the memory of a last-second loss to Hackett in the quarterfinals of last year's state tournament still fresh in its memory.

"That's what we have been concentrating on is getting back there and taking care of business this season," Turner said.

Although he plans to come to at least one of Arkansas' football camps, Turner will be once again being playing AAU basketball with the Arkansas Wings this spring and summer.

One of his Wings' teammates is Sylvan Hills' Archie Goodwin, the state's top 2012 basketball prospect.

"I have a lot of fun playing basketball with the guys like Archie, who has gotten so much better in the last couple of seasons," Turner said. "I love basketball, too, but football is going to be my sport in college."

A.J. Turner

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