2018 Season Countdown: #71 Christian Turner

2018 Season Countdown: #71 Christian Turner


July 6, 2018

Christian Turner (image via Detroit News)

Name: Christian Turner
Height: 5’11”
Weight: 185 lbs.
High school: Buford (GA) Buford
Position: Running back
Class: Freshman
Jersey number: N/A
Last year: Turner was a senior in high school (LINK). He ran the ball 115 times for 801 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Turner confuzzled some Michigan recruiting fanatics when he committed in April of 2017. He was a generic 3-star running back with decent offers (Miami, Notre Dame, Wisconsin) but not a whole lot of recruiting hype. Michigan snatched him when a lot of people thought he would be committing to the Fighting Irish, so that was the silver lining to an otherwise uninspiring recruiting victory. Even his high school production is solid, but nothing spectacular.

But going into the 2018 season, I keep hearing that Michigan thinks they found a bit of a hidden gem in Turner. I have heard that they expect him to play this year, likely as a third-down back. Turner did a nice job catching a screen pass in the International Bowl and has decent speed, and if he can be a decent pass blocker, that would be great. I think finding high schoolers who are ready to handle college pass protections can be an iffy proposition, but if the coaching staff thinks he has the mental and physical capabilities to be a solid blocker, then hooray – because Karan Higdon and Chris Evans haven’t been great in that area. Either way, I don’t imagine Turner as a huge step up over the non-Higdon and non-Evans options, so I’m still placing him fairly low in the countdown.

Prediction: Backup running back

5 comments

  1. JC
    Comments: 210
    Joined: 8/17/2015
    JC
    Jul 06, 2018 at 4:40 PM

    At RB we have:

    1a) Higdon
    1b) Evans
    3) Probably Samuels?
    4a) Barrett
    4b) Haskins
    4c) Taylor
    4d) Turner
    4e) Wilson

    At corner we have
    1a) Hill
    1b) Long
    3) Thomas
    4) Watson
    5) Hughes
    6) St. Juste
    7a) Sims
    7b) Green
    7c) Gray

    I probably wouldn’t slot Turner ahead of St. Juste at this point. St. Juste probably makes the 3-deep for corners at this point, St. Juste might be in contention for the 4-deep.

    Having lived through 2010, you can never have enough DBs.

    • Thunder
      Comments: 2614
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Jul 06, 2018 at 6:24 PM

      Does making the three-deep at corner mean much? St-Juste was on the three-deep last year, and he wasn’t needed on defense. Michigan has four good corners (Long, Hill, Watson, Thomas), and you rarely need that many. Sure, 2010 happened but that was eight years ago. In most years, you might have one guy go down long-term (say, Jeremy Clark) and another guy get dinged up short-term. On top of that, Michigan has other guys (Sims, Green) who are better prepared coming into college than St-Juste was last year. I’m not so sure that Sims/Green won’t be better than St-Juste already.

      As for running back, Barrett is supposedly an “offensive weapon” and I’ve heard he’s going to start off playing in the slot. Furthermore, there are 108 carries available with Isaac/Walker gone. Who picks up those carries? There’s at least a chance that Turner is that guy who picks up a bunch (though not all) of those 108 carries. The guy who picks up those Ty Isaac carries (let’s say 60 per year) is pretty valuable, more valuable than your fifth or sixth or seventh cornerback.

      To put it a different way, St-Juste WON’T be missed if everyone stays healthy, because he won’t play. Turner MIGHT be missed if everyone stays healthy, because the #4 running back gets 45 carries per year (during the Harbaugh era).

      • Comments: 4
        Joined: 9/21/2015
        evey1975
        Jul 07, 2018 at 7:29 AM

        Are there 108 carries available, though?

        Remember that U-M ran the ball a ton last year because the passing game was a mess. The 60.5% run-pass ratio was almost equivalent to 2016 (60.8%) even though the 2016 team spent much more time running out the clock in blowouts. The 2015 figure was 54%.

        With a more balanced offense, this year’s split should be more like 2015. That plus a bunch of tough opponents should lessen the number of carries in 2018.

        • Thunder
          Comments: 2614
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          Jul 07, 2018 at 7:36 AM

          Michigan lost its #3 and #4 running backs from 2017, who got 108 carries.

          The 2016 team saw the #3 and #4 guys get 146 carries combined.

          The 2015 team saw the #3 and #4 guys get 90 carries combined.

          I don’t know exactly how many carries there will be to go around, but that averages out to about 115 per year for the #3 and #4 guys.

      • JC
        Comments: 210
        Joined: 8/17/2015
        JC
        Jul 09, 2018 at 9:55 AM

        Your last paragraph is the best counter-argument. Making the 3 deep at any position I think holds more water than making the 4 deep, but a position like corner where there are two on the field at all times dampens that importance a little bit.

        If there are 108 carries to go around, I’m not sure it’s necessary they go to a defined 4th back because I can’t imagine a ton of said carries being in incredibly meaningful minutes.

        End of the day we’re talking about the 70th or 71st most important player on the team.

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