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Sandusky's Xavier Turner to play baseball for Ohio State

Mark Hazelwood • May 2, 2011 at 2:04 AM

Deep down, Xavier Turner always wanted to be a Buckeye.

And make no mistake, the Ohio State University baseball program wanted him to be a Buckeye.

Both sides can be happy, as the Sandusky junior standout baseball player verbally committed to Ohio State, ending any and all speculation before his junior year of high school finishes.

Turner can officially sign a letter of intent for a baseball scholarship on Nov. 12.

"I think every kid growing up in Ohio at some point in their life wants to go to Ohio State," Turner said. "It's that whole tradition of being a Buckeye. It's the best school in Ohio.

"I chose Ohio State because I like the way they play. They do a lot of small ball stuff and the coaches make me feel comfortable and are real energetic. I was told I can have an impact on their team right away at third or up the middle."

In 16 games this season for undefeated Sandusky, Turner is batting .509 with five doubles, two triples, two home runs, 19 RBIs and 27 runs scored.

A second-team All-Ohio selection a year ago, Turner was named high honorable mention to the Perfect Game preseason All-American team, which consists of the Top 500 underclassmen in the country.

Turner, who carries a 3.2 GPA, is leaning towards the sports management field when he arrives in Columbus in the fall of 2012.

Ohio State had long been on Turner's radar, but after a visit to a Buckeye win over visiting Michigan State at Bill Davis Stadium on April 17, he made the decision.

"I sat down and talked with my parents about it, and I already wanted to go there before," Turner said. "I just really liked what I saw. They have a great stadium and facility, and with the recruits they got coming in, they should be a Top 25 program again."

Turner joins Delaware's Jacob Bosiokovic and Canton South's Logan Bowels as part of the 2012 recruiting class.

The Buckeyes are led by first-year coach Greg Beals, who had a track record as an aggressive recruiter in his previous eight seasons as the coach at Ball State. Beals saw 21 former BSU players selected in the MLB Draft.

Turner caught Beals' eye at the East Coast Professional Baseball Showcase tryouts held in Dayton last June. He was named the OSU coach two days later.

"He seemed like a parent first, then a coach," Turner said of Beals. "He said if you want to go to the next level, we're going to get an education and do the things we need to do."

Perhaps most important to Turner, is getting the recruiting process out of the way before he begins his senior year of high school.

"I still have to work hard, but it is a big relief," he said. "I'd like to thank my dad for always pushing me. There was some pressure starting to build, and I feel like I can relax and have fun with the game now."

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