- Max Olson, ESPN Staff Writer
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Before Texas begins its first season under Charlie Strong, we're taking a deep dive into all the talent he inherits in 2014. Our Burnt Orange Breakdown series will take a closer look at each scholarship player returning this fall and what we can expect from them. We're going down the roster from No. 1 Shiro Davis all the way to No. 99 Desmond Jackson.
No. 5 Josh Turner
Recruitment rewind: Oklahoma and Texas Tech were the early favorites for the Oklahoma City Millwood athlete, but Turner fell in love with Texas during his visit for the spring game in 2010. Turner committed in June 2010 and stuck with Texas even after the coaching staff shakeup in which Duane Akina departed and then quickly returned. Ranked No. 87 overall in the ESPN 300, he was an Under Armour All-American and the highest-rated prospect in the state of Oklahoma in the 2011 class.
Career so far: Turner has played in 37 games in his career, making him one of Texas' most experienced defenders, but his stints in the starting lineup have been short-lived. He enters his senior season with five career starts, 93 tackles, two interceptions, two pass breakups and three fumble recoveries. A third of those tackles have come on special teams. Last season, a hip injury slowed Turner in fall camp and he missed the opener, then went on to start three games.
Best-case scenario for 2014: A quality starter on the back end with a knack for finding the ball. He's still a bit undersized at 6-foot and 180 pounds after moving from corner to safety in 2012, but Turner is also cross-trained to play all over the secondary. With Adrian Phillips gone, the starting job is essentially Turner's now and he has to make the most of it. His interception in the spring game was encouraging. Turner has to be aggressive and smart, and without the lingering hip injury, he should be better prepared.
Worst-case scenario for 2014: Watch out for the youngsters. Third-year safety Adrian Colbert and redshirt freshman Chevoski Collins have limited experience, but a lot of confidence. They're only going to get better in time. Turner has to prove week after week he's the best option to go with Mykkele Thompson, or else he's at risk of losing his job and being relegated to a minor role.
Future expectations: Coming out of high school, Turner probably believed a career in the NFL was a sure thing. Most guys who signed with Texas back then did, considering Duane Akina's sterling reputation for putting his starting DBs in the league. But Turner never really emerged as one of Akina's starters, and now he's down to one final season with a new staff. He's getting a new lease on his career in 2014. Can he take advantage?