2009 Recruiting: Justin Turner

Submitted by Brian on February 26th, 2009 at 11:14 AM

Previously: S Vlad Emilien, S Thomas Gordon, CB Adrian Witty and LB Mike Jones.

Massillon, Ohio - 6'2" 186
justin-turner-independent_thumb Scout 5*, #3 CB, #26 overall, #1 Ohio
Rivals 4*, #3 S, #35 overall, #1 Ohio
ESPN 80, #21 ATH
Others --
Other Suitors Ohio State
YMRMFSPA Marlin Jackson
Previously On
Hello: Justin Turner; roundup of Army game scouting.
Notes Massillon (Shawn Crable). Photo source: the Massillon Independent.

If you're measuring by delusional expectations of internet denizens, Justin Turner may be the #1 recruit in the universe. You've got to have an avalanche of hype for some guy to write an article saying you're Charles Woodson and get this response:

Good article, but i see justin turner being faster then charles woodson. I also see turner being a better saftey the woodson was but woodson will be a better return man.

IE: "Good article about some high school senior being the reincarnation of the only defensive player to ever win the Heisman, but don't you think you're selling him a little short? Also I have no recollection of Charles Woodson's return abilities, which were pretty much crap aside from one white hot moment." (Yes, this exchange happened on Bleacher Report. Where else could it?)

So, yeah, people expect Justin Turner to be good. There are many reasons why. After all the practices and oh incidentally an actual, if incredibly hard to watch, game at the Army All American Bowl, Rivals sat down and got out their thinking caps and put together lists of who was the best at various things. Turner was rated a safety:


3. Justin Turner, Massillon (Ohio) Washington
BUZZ: He played corner during the U.S. Army All-American Bowl and really excelled.


1. Justin Turner, Massillon (Ohio) Washington
BUZZ: He was like a Venus Flytrap during ball drills at the U.S. Army All-American practices.


1. Justin Turner, Massillon (Ohio) Washington
BUZZ: He may end up a cornerback at the next level.

He did not place in "biggest hitter," probably out of a desire to mention someone, anyone else.

It's safe to say Turner impressed. Rivals' Jeremy Crabtree on Turner:

“He played his way up the charts. We knew he was good. Everyone knew what a tremendous player he was before his senior year in high school, but he separated himself in the U.S. Army game. He was arguably the best player on the field, not just in the game, but in practices as well. ... It’s exciting to see how big he’s gonna be for the Wolverines."

Scout's Bob Lichtenfels:

"Turner has always been known as a versatile athlete, but he showed us in San Antonio that just because he is big, it doesn't mean that he has to be a safety. Turner showed that his hips and closing speed are as good as any cover guy in the country. So we have moved the talented athlete to cornerback and elevated him to five stars.  J.T.  is a stud.  Every coach in the country wants a guy that’s six-foot two and can cover.”

Rivals' Barry Every:

He basically can play either safety positions, and someone like that is not limited. If he plays strong safety, he's not afraid to hit and if he's going to be a free safety, he's a ball hawk. For one thing, if he can play corner, he is a coveted commodity because he is well over 6-foot. No. 2, he has excellent ball skills It's always these guys who play two ways in high school and they look good, but they don't look great. "Then, when you get them in an atmosphere where they are only working at one position, those two-way starters at big schools always end up being studs. I saw him in drills and he looked phenomenal, but you didn't get to see his ball skills at Massillon because he was mainly carrying the ball.

(Turner was a running back on offense.) There's more, more, more, all in the same vein: this man appears to be a 6'2" cover corner. Who can tackle. When reservations are expressed, they come off as "I know I just said this guy can be a corner, but I can scarcely believe it so maybe I'm wrong." ESPN didn't budge on Turner's all star performance because, in typical ESPN fashion, they wholly focused on the UA game and ignored the Army one. Turner flew up the boards of Scout and Rivals because they were paying attention; ESPN couldn't be bothered.

Turner's recruitment ended a few weeks after Michigan came through with his first big offer; by that time Illinois and Ohio State had followed suit. And despite all that happened after that commitment, there was never a hint of a waver, probably because his father is a rabid Michigan fan:

Mom is just going to have to deal.

Bonus video: an interview of Turner at the AA game. A Massillon-McKinley game from Turner's junior year. Scouting Ohio highlights.

Why Marlin Jackson? Jackson and Turner are both big corners who were rated around 25th by the major scouting services; Jackson's bounced from safety to corner in his college and NFL careers. Jackson's run support and tackling from the corner spot were a major asset, too.

Guru Reliability: High. All Star game appearance. 
General Excitement Level: Very high, as everyone rushed to shower praise on his performance throughout practice and during the week. (ESPN ignored the Army Bowl to their detriment.)
Projection: Immediate playing time as a nickel corner and a starting role his sophomore year if Donovan Warren leaves early.



February 26th, 2009 at 12:52 PM ^

Brian -- This is the second or third time you've mentioned that he's a candidate to leave after next season. Seems a stretch to me, barring a major jump from last season to next. Am I undervaluing him, or what?


February 26th, 2009 at 1:21 PM ^

If Donovan does stay for his senior year, would it behoove us to redshirt Turner this year? Seems we are getting into an endless cycle of always having to play true frosh, when ultimately redshirting could benefit both team and player.

El Jeffe

February 26th, 2009 at 3:40 PM ^

We passed on the best tackler there, named Vontaze Burfict, in favor of the second-best tackler, named Justin Turner? Sometimes I think RR isn't even trying. Next I expect to read that he's going to pass on Frobozz Tamoshanter in favor of William Campbell.


February 26th, 2009 at 5:34 PM ^

Let's say that Warren stays for his senior year. I agree with the poster who says he'd have to really improve this season to jump. If that's the case, I might prefer a Warren-Turner starting tandem and use Cissoko as the nickel.

We'll see - I like the potential of all three corners that we have right now. If only they play up to that potential on the field.....