Like many people, defensive back Andre Turrentine (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) has dealt with his share of adversity in recent months. The Ohio State 2021 commit wasn’t sure if/when he would have a senior football season at Ensworth High School and, now, the team holds a 2-6 record with Turrentine missing a pair of games due to injury.
“I think 2020 has taught a lot of people how to respond in situations where you have no control,” said Turrentine, who returned to the field this weekend. “Things that you thought would go a certain way, or the right way, can change in a matter of 24 hours. It’s annoying, but it has taught me how to be patient and just control the things I can.”
Turrentine commutes roughly one hour each way from his home in Murfreesboro to Ensworth, a private school located in Nashville. The Tigers may be a disappointing 2-6 overall but are no slouch, having dropped five games by 10 points or less.
One of those setbacks came in a 16-7 loss to undefeated Brentwood Academy without their defensive leader. Ensworth stood 0-4 out of the gate but hasn’t quit, something Turrentine won’t ever do or let others around him entertain.
“My mom has inspired me from a young age,” Turrentine began. “Showing me that when you feel down and there’s no other place you can go, to keep on moving. My dad has been in this world (long) before me and teaches things that I may not think of… or see in people right away. I may not always tell them I’m looking for an answer, but they still always know what to say.”
Turrentine, who has also competed in basketball and track growing up, stands 6-0 and weighs about 180 pounds. He is fast, but likely won’t be the fastest on a college field. He can certainly hit and tackle, but isn’t the biggest. Still, the young man is considered a Top 150 player nationally and one of the best safeties for a reason…
In high school, physically superior/dominant players usually cannot be challenged much, no matter how hard other kids try. That oftentimes changes when athletes get to college and everyone is capable.
“What separates a great player from a good player is what they know, being where they are supposed to be, and making that right play,” Turrentine said. “I try to be a student of the game and take every little detail or advantage to help win matchups. Staying in the film room, observing how quarterbacks and receivers approach the game, offenses in their entirety, and then how I can implement my game to help win.”
The area where Turrentine might differ the most from other high school kids? That would be social media. He doesn’t do a ton of interviews, doesn’t have an Instagram account and has tweeted four times since the beginning of August. One of those was upon receiving his official Ohio State scholarship, and another was regarding motivation from someone associated with Special Olympics. It’s an admirable trait considering today’s culture, where your workout or outfit doesn’t seem to count unless it’s posted for others to see.
“Yeah, building a personal brand matters… but at this age, it doesn’t do anything but create popularity and pressure,” Turrentine voiced. “The brand will build itself through my play at the next level, and there’s experts in the field who can ultimately help you (do that)…
“But trolling teams or schools, just to get attention and more followers… I don’t really see the point. All of the attention can come on its own. Focusing on that right now is not going to help me get where I need to go.”
Turrentine will soon be going to Columbus, enrolling as part of Ohio State’s No. 2-ranked class (at the moment) alongside plenty of other standouts. He is actually the 13th-highest rated player in the current group of 20, but that doesn’t matter one bit. Athletes with the mindset of Turrentine typically end up blossoming just fine.
“We all have our separate way of going about mentalities, but we still have the same goals,” Turrentine said, in conclusion, when asked about the 2021 crop of Buckeyes. “I don’t think there are any selfish guys in this class. Obviously everyone has the same goal of making it to the NFL. A lot of times, people want to get theirs… but to win a championship and be that team playing in mid-January, you have to be together. We all know what we bring individually, but we’ll come in as a brotherhood.”