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A.J. Turner will be in the thick of South Carolina’s backup running back battle, but he’s so much more

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There appears to be plenty of good things to come for the redshirt sophomore.

NCAA Football: Western Carolina at South Carolina Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

It’s The Final Cockdown’s Running Backs week! We go down the depth chart and take a look at who will have a shot at carrying the ball out of the backfield in 2017. Catch up with the links below and take a look at what’s to come:

Rico Dowdle | Ty’Son Williams | Mon Denson | Caleb Kinlaw | CJ Freeman

#25 A.J. Turner

RS Sophomore / 5’10” / 189 / Clifton (Va.) Centreville

A.J. Turner’s South Carolina career nearly started with a safety on the opening kickoff of the 2016 season, which would have probably would have been the most Gamecocks thing ever. Imagine 20 years from now being known as the guy who stepped out (and then back in) of the end zone on the opening kickoff of your first-ever collegiate game and surrendering two points as a result.

Fortunately, it was ruled a touchback and the Gamecocks ended up winning, and as it turns out, that little gaffe wasn’t at all foreshadowing of what was to come for the then-redshirt freshman. He averaged 4.3 yards a carry mainly spelling Rico Dowdle in the backfield, but his skill in the return game and his big-play potential shows you why so many programs wanted him out of high school. I’d like to see Kurt Roper open it up offensively and get him involved in the receiving game to take advantage of his versatility, but his primary role will be out of the backfield where South Carolina could have not one, but three fully capable rushing options this season. Think about that if the o-line is even 14 better than they were in 2016.

Turner’s 2016 stats: 116 carries, 497 yards, three touchdowns; 321 KR yards (long 80) on

Recruitment: The three-star had nearly 40 offers in high school, including Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Miami (Fla.) Notre Dame, Ohio State, Texas and Wisconsin. But it was the Gamecocks getting his commitment on July 10, 2014.

Selected highlight: Yeah, this works.

And this.

Up next: The back of the reserves, but plenty of potential with guys like Caleb Kinlaw and Mon Denson.