By Collin Brooks
Daniel Boone’s Justin Turner and David Crockett’s TK Hill grew up on different sides of the bitter Musket Bowl rivalry, but now they will be taking the next step in their football careers together.
The duo signed to play at Union College, in Barbourville, Kentucky, a few months back and with the summer now here, they are working toward having an impact right away.
“I think it’s going to be good for both of us,” said Hill, who finished his career as Crockett’s all-time leading rusher with 3,693 rushing yards, while also accumulating 43 touchdowns. “Coming from a small hometown, and going up there to another small town. The communities are similar in that everyone loves football there.”
Union C oach Andre Linn, who is in his second year on the job, said that he was excited that he was able to snag the duo from Washington County.
“First the character of these two young men is an example of the type of person we look for in our program,” Linn wrote in an email. “TK has a great combination of power, agility and balance that we look for in our running backs.
“Justin is an old school lineman. Not afraid to mix it up, with anyone. He can play either offensive line or defensive line equally well. We are recruiting him as an O-lineman, because he knows how to finish his blocks.”
The pair has battled on the field since their middle school days, when Turner would suit up for Gray and Hill put on his pads for Jonesborough. And from the beginning, both knew that they would have to account for the other, according to Turner.
“During our freshman year, he had some big plays against Science Hill and we noticed that and we all just knew he was going to be a good player,” Turner said. “We knew he was going to get better, so we would have to get better with him.”
Turner, like many others, wasn’t aware that his newest teammate has been battling Type-1 diabetes since he was 4 years old and has an insulin pump, to control his levels. Hill went through the first couple years of high school with a carefree attitude when it came to his ailment, but it wasn’t until his junior season that he really started to respect and take care of his condition.
“I definitely have to keep ahead of myself, so I don’t go too high or drop too low,” Hill said. “Usually my trainers are aware and they know what is going on.”
He admitted to being a bit sloppy with his diet during his freshman and sophomore years, but he was able to gain a larger perspective as he grew older.
“I realized that football isn’t going to be my whole life, but I’ll have to deal with diabetes my whole life,” Hill said. “So I knew that if I didn’t start straightening up, I’ll regret it later in life. That made me realize I had to start taking better care of myself.”
Both will be tasked with upkeep on their bodies, especially if they hope to play right away. Turner may have the toughest time of the two, since his offensive line position will have juniors and seniors in college, that are grown men battling for playing time. But he said that he thinks his toughness will set him apart.
He has already found a weightlifting partner on the team, and Turner said he’s already put on close to 20 pounds since the Blazers last football game.
Both will also have a chip on their shoulder as their hometown school and other colleges passed on their abilities.
“We are definitely going to prove a lot of people wrong,” Turner said of the duo. “I know I’m looking forward to doing a lot of work and getting on the field as soon as I can.”
Hill, one of the biggest running backs now on the Union roster, said that he will be going into camp with hopes of playing right away.
“It’s all I’ve known, since I was young, I’ve always played,” he said. “I’ve never taken a day off or sat the bench, so going up there and competing and being able to play is one of my goals.”
Both also have goals of getting degrees, as Hill said that he either wants to be an endocrinologist, to help little kids with diabetes, or he wants to work in the criminal justice field. Turner said he will major in criminal justice, with a minor in biology in hopes of becoming a game warden.