Redshirt freshman cornerback Justin Turner has apparently decided to transfer. He has been granted his release by the University of Michigan, although Sam Webb of Scout/WTKA/Detroit News fame has stated that his parents are going to try to talk Turner out of leaving Ann Arbor. We’ll see how that goes.
If #2 does indeed follow through with his intentions to leave Michigan, he would be the first member of the 21-person Class of 2009 to leave. (Cornerback Adrian Witty never arrived at Michigan after Michigan’s Admissions office failed to grant him entry.) To Rivals he was a 4-star safety, the #35 recruit in the country, and the #3 player at his position; to Scout he was a 5-star cornerback, the #3 player in the country, and the #1 player at his position. To the University of Michigan’s football team, he was the #3 or perhaps #4 cornerback for the 2010 season.
The 2009 version of the Wolverines had horrible defenses and very little cornerback depth, especially after then-sophomore Boubacar Cissoko was booted off the team for skipping classes and generally being an idiot. But Turner still couldn’t get on the field and redshirted, giving way to fellow freshman Teric Jones, who entered college hoping and expecting to play running back or slot receiver. With Donovan Warren leaving school early to enter the 2010 NFL Draft, many Michigan fans assumed that Turner would assume the starting cornerback role. However, redshirt sophomore JT Floyd took the lead in the battle for the open cornerback position.
There were reports that Turner had ballooned to an unfathomable 197 pounds and got too big to play cornerback, a regular Violet Beauregarde. (Set your sarcasm detectors to ON.) The fall roster even listed him at 198 pounds. However, cornerbacks coach Tony Gibson has spoken highly of Turner in the past, and his disenchantment likely has more to do with playing second fiddle to JT Floyd than anything else. He was 186 lbs. coming out of high school, so adding 11 or 12 pounds in college really isn’t that big of a deal. He still could have played corner, although he would have been fighting incoming freshman Cullen Christian – a highly touted corner in his own right, and ranked higher than Turner in my 2010 Season Countdown – for playing time.
Turner was ranked as a safety by Rivals, and I think most Michigan fans were waiting for a time when cornerback depth would allow him to switch positions to free safety or Bandit. If his absence is felt at all, though, it will likely be a year or two down the road if Michigan’s 17 safeties can’t cobble together a decent starter or three. I’m not going to sit here and say that Michigan is better off without him. But the Wolverines are headed for 7 or 8 wins in 2010 whether Turner’s in Ann Arbor or not.
You need to login in order to vote