Justin Turner - position?

Submitted by WolvinLA2 on July 10th, 2010 at 2:09 AM

I was just looking through the M roster and I read Justin Turner's mgoblue profile.  It's amazing how universally regarded he was at one or the other DB spot.  Based on our defensive backfield this fall, I feel like we need to get him on the field. 

What is this based on?  Not sure.  It seems as though the reports on him go back and forth between "he's such a talent who will see the field somehow" to "he's just not picking it up like we thought  he would" to "he's kind of a tweener so we don't know where to play him." 

Here's what we know about him:  He's pretty big for a DB, 6'2" and 200lbs.  To me, that sounds like a safety.  However, he was rated by Rivals as the third fastest DB nationally, and those spots are reserved for the guys who are unequivocally fast.  So maybe that means he can be a CB.  Either way, he's a physical freak who has produced at a high level in high school and impressed at the AAA game.  Don't we need to get him on the field?

We have 5 DB spots.  The only one we know for sure is Woolfolk, likely at CB.  But out of the other 4, where does Turner fit the best?  My suggestion is one of the spur/bandit spots.  It sounds like Vlad or CG will man the FS, and I think between Cullen, Floyd and Rogers we will find a second CB.  But the candidates for the spur and bandit are a walk-on, a bunch of guys who've also never seen the field, and true frosh.  Let me know what everyone thinks, or if you've heard anything about this that I don't know, let me know.



July 10th, 2010 at 2:28 AM ^

I'm actually pretty curious about this myself seeing how highly rated he was coming out of high school.  From what I understand, he may have outgrown the CB position so I think your spur/bandit idea may be the perfect fit for him.


July 10th, 2010 at 2:13 PM ^

I've always been curious if they mean his weight or his height. Wasn't Warren over 6'? So maybe it's an issue that his weight and strength have increased to the point that his hips aren't as fluid as a CB needs to be? Maybe he can't make the cuts to cover the deep ins and quick slants? Any coaches or experts here that can help out?


July 10th, 2010 at 2:23 PM ^

At the NFL Combine, Warren was 5'11" and some change.

As for the difference between cornerback and safety, the thing is the ability to stay low and swivel your hips.  You can be a tall cornerback (Lenny Walls, for example, is 6'4" and started for the Broncos), but you have to be able to change directions quickly.  It's a rare athlete that can do that.

If you look at Justin Turner, he's a solid 6'2", 197 lbs.  Rumor was that he showed up a little bit out of shape.  Then he turned the chub into mostly muscle, and here he is at almost 200.  That's not a bad size, but 197 lbs. is pretty damn heavy for a college cornerback, regardless of size.  And as a freshman, you have to think that he'll continue to add a few more pounds.  If he naturally grows into being 6'2" and 205 or 210, then he'd have to be an elite athlete to stick at corner.


July 10th, 2010 at 3:11 PM ^

Yes, at 6'2" and 205 or 210 you would have to be an incredible athlete to play corner.  However, isn't Turner pretty close to an incredible athlete?  At the very least, he should have the makings of an incredible safety if he's that size and almost athletic enough for corner.  He would be bigger and more athletic than almost any safety in the Big Ten.

The good thing is that he has 4 years of eligibility left, so if this doesn't get sorted out this fall, we still have a lot of Turner to look forward to.


July 11th, 2010 at 7:52 AM ^

I'm not sure if he's close or not.  I would think a truly incredible athlete would have been able to break into the cornerback rotation last year, but maybe the mental/conditioning part was what was holding him back...

I do think he's a very good athlete.  But that doesn't mean he can be a 210 lb. cornerback.  Those are somewhat rare.

Chadillac Grillz

July 10th, 2010 at 2:33 AM ^

One reason it would have been nice to get Dorsey here IMO is it might have given us more flexibilty to move Turner but still a good point...I seem to remember Eric Berry was recruited as a CB (someone correct me if I'm wrong) but was considered more of a SS at UT. When I look at J. Turner with his size that Strong Safety position seems about right. Jordan Kovacs is of course the front runner at one spot, whereas Thomas Gordon was with the ones at the other (safeties not named Cam Gordon I mean). Turner looked physically impressive this spring. He looked like a guy who would do well covering the flats/tight ends and maybe in press man, and who could be excellent against the run down the road. If Kovacs struggles against certain teams maybe Turner could steal that spot (not to knock Jordan).


July 10th, 2010 at 2:42 AM ^

I'm going to reserve judgement until I actually see him in a game situation. It would be great if the team could get 6 solid games from him at CB this year.


July 10th, 2010 at 2:46 AM ^

Well, im kind of torn on the Justin Turner situation. I know how bad we need a top CB, and I fully expected him to be a very good second CB going into this year until we heard rumblings of him outgrowing the position.

There are successful CB's that are Turner's size in college and in the pros, so I wasn't ready to write him off just because of his size. However, the coaches see him every day in practice, and I'm thinking his growth spurt may have hindered his ability in coverage. I don't know. A part of me is torn because I would like to see how he does vs bigger WR's vs the Michigan WR's in practice minus Hemingway. I could see where he would have trouble guarding guys like Stonum, TRob, and Odoms, but I'd be surprised if he couldn't match up well with big WR's.

I'm not sure where he's going to end up defensively. Unless Marvin Robinson moves to LB I do not see Justin Turner taking over the FS position in Michigan's defense. To me, he's either a SS or stays home at CB. We'll see, but there is no doubt his talents are needed now.


July 10th, 2010 at 11:24 AM ^

A lot of people talk about Turner like he is 6'2" 220 lbs. The guy is 6'2" 197 lbs. That sounds like a cornerback to me. It will be between him and Floyd for the #2 cb. We already have a ton of guys for the spur and bandit positions (T. Gordon, Williams, Kovacs, Furman, Robinson, etc). SS will be between C. Gordon and Emilien. Also we need Turner at cb so he can step in after Woolfolk leaves.

Double Nickel BG

July 10th, 2010 at 4:09 AM ^

This year- Turner gets thrown around a little at CB and the safety spots. Gordon has been practicing at deep safety and has shown the coaches he's one of the better ones, and it's insane to think they would move him around, with him being new to the defensive side of the ball this year. Marvin Robinson takes one of the Bandit/Rover and then Gordon and Turner fight for the other spot.


Future - Turner goes back to a more natural position at deep safety, Cam Gordon moves to one of Bandit/Rover. M Rob and Furman fit somewhere, if it be LB for M Rob and Bandit/Rover for Furman.


Conclussion- who knows. He'll probably be a jack of all trades this year, getting thrown around to where he's needed. I think he'll end up at safety for the long run.


July 10th, 2010 at 11:27 AM ^

I hate to break it to you, but Jordan Kovacs is likely starting at a box safety position. And that is a good thing.

If I gambled on such things, I would expect Woolfolk and Floyd (CBs), M. Williams, C. Gordon and Kovacs (Ss) to start this year. I would expect Turner and Christian (CBs), M-Rob, Emilien, T. Gordon, C. Johnson and J. Furman to all get significant playing time this year, and perhaps, M-Rob and Emilien to be starting by the beginning of the conference season.


July 10th, 2010 at 8:15 PM ^

Thankfully Magnus, I'm nowhere near a sports book opportunity.

Trying to think the positions through logically, however, I see lots and lots of youth in the secondary. Talent, yes, but lots of youth. I would find it pretty darn surprising if both Thomas and Cameron Gordon were starting at safety spots against UConn. So, looking through the list and finding someone with starting experience (who really wasn't bad until the entire defense fell on its face), I was led to M. Williams.

Williams is at that point in his career (4th year junior, right?) where he'll either put it together or it just won't happen. I'm hoping for the former.

With all that said, I would not be shocked if M-Rob were starting by the beginning of the Big 10 season.


July 10th, 2010 at 5:53 AM ^

think about Justin Turner the same way I think about Denard.  I am not exactly sure what position he is going to play at this point primarily but I know he needs to be on the field. 



July 10th, 2010 at 6:30 AM ^

The thing is, they can't move him away from corner.  The depth at cornerback goes like this:


And by the way, both Rogers and Woolfolk are gone after this year.  Turner is almost being held captive at cornerback when safety is probably his best position right now.  And judging from the other cornerbacks Rodriguez has been bringing in/offering, he's not a fan of big corners.  He likes midgets.


July 10th, 2010 at 8:30 AM ^

In this last class Avery and Talbott are both 5'10 and Christian is 6'0


In the current class Greg Brown is 5'10.  Sure, Hollowell is only 5'8.  


But point is, I'm not sure you can generalize that he only likes small corners.


July 10th, 2010 at 9:13 AM ^

Generally, it seems as though recruiting sites list players about an inch taller than they actually are.  So I'm guessing Brown, Talbott, and Avery are about 5'9" and Cullen Christian is about 5'11".  But WVU's corners weren't big, either.  I'm not saying he ONLY wants a bunch of 5'8" guys playing corner, but you'll notice that every big corner seems destined for safety (Dorsey, Turner) on this team.  Woolfolk would probably still be a safety if it weren't for the complete lack of depth at cornerback.


July 10th, 2010 at 9:55 AM ^

and you're right some of the bigger corners definitely seem destined for S.  I've even seen talk of Christian end up playing FS.  


And this was my only point:


 I'm not saying he ONLY wants a bunch of 5'8" guys playing corner,


On a side note, are the larger corners being moved to S because of preference or is that where they're just better suited?  It doesn't seem like there's a bunch of 6'1 CB running around in the NFL either, but I very well could be mistaken.

Blue boy johnson

July 10th, 2010 at 8:34 AM ^

Well anytime you talk about a team's defensive backs and you preface everyone with; "He would be better off at safety", you know you might have a pwoblem.

We are 3 years into the RR era and we don't have any corners on the team? Expectations for what it takes to play corner at the college level are either unrealistic, or RR and Co. don't know what the hell they are doing.


July 10th, 2010 at 1:49 PM ^

It's unlucky that all four of the above are gone, but some of it could have been anticipated. Witty and Dorsey were both on the edge or worse academically and people had known there was a good chance Warren would leave early for a long time. The one true surprise was Cissoko.

Blue boy johnson

July 10th, 2010 at 8:52 AM ^

When you go after an excessive amount of marginal qualifiers you risk getting burned. Witty and Dorsey never made it into M and IMHO Dorsey should never have been offered.

Cissoko? Speaking strictly football, Boubacar was ripped relentlessly on this very blog early last season and was the scapegoat to M's 4-0 start last year.


July 10th, 2010 at 9:37 AM ^

Whenever I hear about Turner struggling, I get down. I watch this to pick me up. I'm confident he'll be a superb player in the long run, whether or not he sticks at corner. He's too talented not to succeed.


July 10th, 2010 at 10:03 AM ^

How about we just make him a big lockdown corner who scares the shit out of every QB and WR we play against? We could use some size at CB.

OSUMC Wolverine

July 10th, 2010 at 12:51 PM ^

Floyd is a good wr, but he has an inexperienced, an unproven QB, a completely revamped OL, a new offensive system to learn, and a fan base that is even more fickle than we are and won't tolerate the rocky start they are going to have.  The pressure will be on in a big way.  It is safe to assume early on though that the only two people running around to catch passes that one will need to cover will be Floyd and Rudolf.  New QB and new offense there won't be time or knowledge to go through a laundry list of reads and checkdowns.


July 10th, 2010 at 10:09 AM ^

Turner will start out as a CB and depending on how Avery, Talbott and Christian develop will determine where he will play.  He'll only be a RS freshman this year.  The main problem with our secondary is the lack of upperclassmen, as has already been pointed out.  I believe RR has been recruiting enough CB in hopes of improving the situation, in 2 years, but for now we can only hope that our current players 1 don't get injured and 2 improve from last year (Floyd and Woolfork).  


Correct me if I'm wrong, and I'm sure someone will...but in the 3-3-5 cover skills aren't as important as diagnosing the play and being in the right position becuase of that a player such as Christian and Turner who may not have game changing speed can play CB and excel.