Turner, 6' 2" and 185 pounds, also stars in basketball for Massillon. Last year he played behind All-Ohioan Brian Gamble, but still managed to turn heads with his fine play. With Gamble suffering through an injury-plagued season, Turner took full advantage of his opportunity to run the football. He figures to play all over the field for the Tigers this season.
"I'll be starting at cornerback on defense," Turner started. "On offense I'll be starting at wide receiver and I'll be part of a rotation at tailback behind our two great seniors, DeVoe Torrence and K. J. Herring."
Turner with OSU bound DeVoe Torrence
"Last year I was really struggling at the beginning," Turner continued. "I didn't play that much because I was behind Brian Gamble. He got injured later in the season and as I got more carries good things started to happen for me. I was able to gain a lot of yards and scored a few touchdowns, and that really helped my confidence a lot. I think I ended up playing pretty well last year."
Although Turner's first love is running the football, he understands that he might have to switch to another position for the good of the team. College recruiters are already well aware of J. T. Turner and have told him his future may be on defense at the next level.
"I like playing running back the most," he said. "I like being able to break off a long run and take it to the house. As a college player I will probably play on defense, possibly in the secondary. It really doesn't matter to me though. I'll play anywhere my coaches want me to, both here at Massillon and in college."
Turner spoke of his goals this year at Massillon, both for his team and individually. He carries nearly a 3.0 grade point average and has yet to take the ACT.
"We have a lot of goals here at Massillon," Turner noted. "This is the best place in Ohio to play football. We have the best fans in the state and we want to win it all for them. Our main goal is to go undefeated and win the state championship. Personally, I would like to be an All-Ohio selection this year just like Brian Gamble was as a junior. My main thing is winning though. That's what I'm all about."
That type of attitude is going to make T. J. Turner very desirable in the eyes of college recruiters. He has received two scholarship offers already and he's being recruited by some of the top programs in the Mid-West.
"I went to the Michigan camp and just played defensive back," Turner said. "I was offered by Toledo and Ball State. I'm also being recruited by Michigan and Ohio State. Both Ohio State and Michigan send me stuff in the mail and they've talked with my head coach about me. I really don't have a favorite school. I root for Ohio State, Michigan, Virginia Tech, West Virginia and Oregon."
Turner admitted he's impressed with the Ohio State program and said he likes Buckeye head coach Jim Tressel.
"Ohio State is a great program, one of the best in the country," Turner said with a smile. "I would love to be able to earn an offer from them and be able to go there. I know I have to work harder in the classroom, harder in the weight room and harder on the field. I met coach Tressel one time and I really liked him. I also got to know Chris Wells lately and he's real cool. I don't have a real list of favorites but Ohio State is a school I'm very interested in."