The stories about the pressure and influence from fans on their in-state prospects have become commonplace in the world of college recruiting. Few fanbases have reputations for being more fiercely protective than that which resides Ohio. For players born and bread in the Buckeye State, heading outside the borders is akin to treason. Going to Michigan is even worse... that offence ranks right up there with crimes against humanity. That atmosphere has conditioned those that choose to defect to deal effectively with their fair share of heckling from fans and continued pursuit from Ohio State. Surprisingly, though, Michigan commitment J.T. Turner isn't experiencing either situation.
"I've been committed for so long so I think people just gave up on me," he said. "They already know where I'm going. So I really don't get it anymore."
What Turner is getting is attention from a few schools down south. Two SEC programs have attempted to use pre-existing relationships to pry the five-star all American from Michigan's clutches.
"After the (Army All-American) game I was talking to Bryce McNeal and he told me that the Clemson coach liked what he saw," Turner recalled. "So then the Clemson coach started calling me, but I didn't actually call him back or nothing. Then I'd say like two weeks ago Florida called me. Coach Loeffler, who used to coach at Michigan, started calling me asking me to take the visit down there and everything. "
The interest from Florida and Loeffler apparently prompted Turner's Michigan recruiter and position coach Tony Gibson to jump into action.
"I guess Coach Gibby cut that out real quick," Turner said laughing. "He told me the first time I talked to him that I was his guy. Ever since then me and him… we've just had that close relationship with each other."
Gibson invited Turner back up to Ann Arbor for an unofficial visit last weekend, and once on campus the talented youngster began forming similar relationships with his future teammates and other coaches.
"(Saturday) night I was with Greg Mathews, Carlos Brown, Donovan Warren, and all of those guys," he said. "I met (new defensive coordinator) Coach Robinson. He is a nice dude… straight up with you like all of the Michigan coaches. And I just can't wait to get up there and be with him and all of the rest of the coaches. Everybody just can't wait for everybody to get up there and become a team, and change that 3-9 around. "
So in a day and age where decommitments and soft verbals are growing in prevalence, Turner hopes he has alleviated any concerns about his allegiance before they begin.
"I've always wanted to be a Wolverine," he said matter-factly. "I'm going to be working out and running track to get ready to be a Wolverine."