It was a different feeling this time around for North Richland Hills (Texas) Birdville running back Xavier Turner at Oklahoma.
Turner made his first trip to OU last year for the spring game as a virtual unknown who hoped to earn some recognition. Turner made another trip to Norman, Okla., this weekend and felt a lot more comfortable.
His goal was to leave OU’s spring game with an offer. That didn’t happen, but it was key for Turner and OU running backs coach Cale Gundy to reconnect and Turner said he feels good about his situation going forward.
“I was able to talk to Coach Gundy and that went pretty good,” Turner said. “He stressed to me to hold onto the ball. He told me to keep up the good work and that he would be down there in the spring.”
Turner had an outstanding junior season, but that hasn’t resulted in a lot of offers. While some kids are touring the country for unofficial visits, Turner has stayed at home for the most part to concentrate on track. Saturday’s trip was only his second visit this spring to go along with a trip to Kansas State.
He had a chance to speak with OU running back Roy Finch who stressed the student part in the student-athlete equation.
“He told me you cannot slack off,” Turner said. “You can’t put football before school. It’s student-athlete for a reason.”
Turner, who is 5-foot-10 and 205 pounds, visited OU twice during the 2012 season but then it seemed he was out of sight and out of mind for the Sooners.
Saturday opened that door once again.
“I knew more this time around, and I’m getting to know more about them as they’re getting to know more about me,” Turner said. “When he comes down for spring practice, hopefully I can get that offer and open up more doors.”
He is also receiving heavy interest from Oregon and is considering a summer trip to see the Ducks, though that is far from being finalized.
While he has seen the OU campus before, it was a different Turner that came to town this time around -- a better Turner.
“Coach Gundy said I’ve put on a lot of good weight, and I look better than I did before,” Turner said. “That was good to hear. All I’m going to do is keep working hard and see what happens.”
Coincidentally, one of Turner’s biggest supporters is one of OU’s biggest rivals. ESPN Watch List quarterback and Texas commit Jerrod Heard (Denton, Texas/Guyer) has been encouraging Turner the most throughout the recruiting process, telling him to stay patient and to not be worried that it takes some time.