Three-star running back A.J. Turner of Clifton, Va. (Centreville H.S.) committed to South Carolina on Thursday night. The 5'11, 180-pound back made his announcement at The Opening, an elite, invitation-only football camp held annually at Nike headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon. He chose the Gamecocks over 20 other FBS offers, including Clemson, Virginia, Ohio State, Michigan State, and Virginia.
Turner is the 20th prospect in the 2014 class to commit to South Carolina. He is the No. 27 running back and the 340th-best prospect in the 2014 class, according to the 247Sports Composite index. Following Turner's announcement, the Gamecocks' class holds steady at No. 6 in the country and fourth in the SEC.
How does he look on film?
Turner is a two-way starter and of the one of the most dynamic and talented players in the state of Virginia. He lines up at running back, defensive back, and returns kicks for Centreville. He has exceptional vision and instincts as a ball carrier. He also possesses very good speed, acceleration, and change-of-direction. Turner has quick feet and maintains his balance well, but at 180 pounds, he will need to add weight to be an effective SEC running back for the Gamecocks. To put things in perspective, every running back on the South Carolina roster is listed at 200 pounds or more. Once Turner is on campus and in the strength and condition system, gaining weight should not be a problem.
Regardless of formation -- he oftentimes lines up as a wingback in his high school's Wing-T offense -- Turner is a patient, effective runner who reads blocks well and wastes very little motion. He is also a talented pass-catcher and is able to adjust to balls thrown his way while gaining yards after contact. Turner's coaches have also raved about his work ethic, which will serve him well once he gets to Columbia and the competition level vastly increases.
How soon could he play?
Following the 2014 season, Mike Davis will almost certainly declare for the NFL Draft, leaving Brandon Wilds, Shon Carson, and David Williams as the only scholarship running backs on South Carolina's roster. Plan A likely involves Turner redshirting in 2015, but he would just be a few injuries away from being called into action as a true freshman.
Are the Gamecocks done at running back?
South Carolina's depth issues at running back shouldn't be so grave that they'd be willing to reach for a second running back that they didn't like. At this point, four-star backs Ty'Son Williams and Jordan Scarlett are two that the Gamecocks would take, but South Carolina has a long way to go before they're considered the front-runner with either.
What nickname will Steve Spurrier assign to AJ Turner?
Acid-Wash Jeans Turner
Turner Up For What?