East Poinsett County is turning out to be the gift that just keeps on giving.
EPC linebacker A.J. Turner (6-3, 207) – the state's leading tackler last season with 177 stops - became the latest standout from the school in Lepanto to pledge his lot with Arkansas.
He joins former Razorback two-sport star Marcus Monk and 2011 basketball signee Rashad Madden to decide Fayetteville is where they need to go to college.
"Every time I come to Arkansas, I have a feeling like this is home and where I am suppose to be," Turner said. "So I just decided to go ahead and commit seeing this is where I want to be."
Turner visited for the scrimmage two weeks ago and was ready to commit, but wanted to let his mom see the campus and offer up her input before he committed.
"She loved it," Turner said. "She likes this (Razorback Stadium) field and all the academic things they have."
Arkansas was the first college to offer Turner although there have been plenty of SEC and Big 12 schools who appear on the verge of offering him.
"I don't know if it will help me have better seasons, but I do know that it is good to go ahead and get it out of the way if you know where you want to go," Turner said. "I know this is for sure where I want to be."
While Turner flourished on both sides of the ball with 30 catches for 670 yards and 457 yards rushing to combine for 21 scores, it is defense that is his calling card.
Arkansas sees Turner, who helped lead his football team to a 8-3 record this past season and a berth in the state playoffs, as a big-time linebacker.
"I am always aware of where the ball is and able to get to anywhere on the field to make the tackle," Turner said. "I feel like I am a ball hawk and just get there when the play needs to be made. I can make plays all over the field."
He seems himself in the mold of current Razorback hybrid linebacker Jerico Nelson.
"I love the way he plays being so physical," Turner said. "That's the way I love to play."
Turner teamed with Madden to lead the Warriors to the Class 2A basketball state title.
"It was a tremendous feeling to set a goal and go out and achieve it," Turner said. "We all worked hard and played together and it really paid off for us."
He plays for the same AAU Arkansas Wings team that features Sylvan Hills standout Archie Goodwin.
They came off a 2-3 record in last week's season-opening EYBL in Virginia.
"We have a chance to be really, really good and I have a lot of fun playing with those guys," Turner said. "Now that I have this out of the way, I can just concentrate on basketball and getting stronger."
Turner to Arkansas
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