What was expected to be a promising career from one of Michigan’s highest ranked recruits in recent classes has come met a premature end. Redshirt freshman defensive back Justin Turner from Massillon, Ohio, has left Michigan and will not be part of the team this fall according to the University.
“[Turner] asked for, and was granted, his release yesterday. We wish him well in his future endeavors,” Michigan Director of Media Relations Dave Ablauf announced Wednesday.
Turner came to Michigan last year with five-star recruiting hype, but redshirted after showing up to camp out of shape. It appears weight was again an issue when he arrived at fall camp this year, and his inability to pass J.T. Floyd on the depth chart raised major concerns about Turner’s ability to stick at cornerback. His absence leaves Michigan razor-thin at corner — after projected starters Troy Woolfolk and Floyd, the Wolverines have only senior James Rogers, who has spent his career bouncing between receiver and defensive back, and true freshmen Cullen Christian, Terrence Talbott, and Courtney Avery. Expect Christian, the highest-rated of the true freshmen, to see the field immediately. Despite getting middling three-star ratings, Talbott is likely the next corner on the depth chart — I think if Rogers was a college-level corner, he would have seen the field by this point in his career.
At this point, Rich Rodriguez couldn’t be blamed if he put Woolfolk and Floyd in full-body, bubble-boy air casts to ensure no injuries take the cornerback situation from merely petrifying to completely apocalyptic. Turner may not have been developing as the staff had hoped, but his absence still leaves a huge hole in this year’s defense. Hopefully, one or two of the freshmen can step up and fill that void.
UPDATE: According to insider Sam Webb, Turner’s parents are on their way to Ann Arbor to talk to him about his decision. While this opens up the possibility of Turner returning to the school and the team, it’s still clear that he is a very long way from contributing on the field even if he changes his mind. I’ll have updates as we get more information — for now, I think it’s safe to say that Turner is very unlikely to see the field for Michigan in 2010.