We continue our series as we look at each potential contributor on Michigan's roster in numerical order and look at what would be a stellar, standard and subpar season in 2020.
We're on to No. 5, redshirt freshman cornerback DJ Turner.
As you can see from the picture above, there's not much out there on Turner. He played in just four games last year as a true freshman and it was only on special teams. The 6-0, 180-pounder hasn't recorded a stat at Michigan yet he's a name we keep hearing when discussing new faces who could contribute in 2020.
With a chance to break into the regular rotation in 2020, what kind of season would be considered stellar, standard and subpar for him?
A stellar season for Turner would involve him pulling even with or surpassing Vincent Gray on the depth chart. Gray did some nice things last year in his first season on the field and Don Brown is extremely high on him. With that said, Mike Zordich has praised Turner as the kind of player who refuses to be on the sidelines.
If Turner can climb up high enough and play almost as much or more than Gray, that would be a stellar season. If he does, he'll likely record 25-30 tackles with a few passes broken up and maybe a few turnovers via interception and fumble recovery like we saw out of Ambry Thomas last year.
A standard season for Turner would involve him clearly being third on the depth chart but part of a three-man rotation at cornerback. We saw last year with Lavert Hill, Ambry Thomas and Vincent Gray that Don Brown and Mike Zordich like to keep guys fresh at corner as they run around in man to man. With Hill off to the NFL, Gray and Thomas are it for returners with experience. That's where Turner should jump in and provide depth and some opportunities for rest for Thomas and Gray.
If Turner is that guy, he could easily put up numbers like Gray did in 2019. Gray played in all 13 games and recorded 20 tackles, including 1.5 for loss while breaking up five passes. If Turner can achieve those numbers in year two I'd call that a solid season.
Given the lack of depth at cornerback, a subpar season for Turner would be like 2019, meaning he's only playing on special teams. If the snaps that should be available due to Lavert Hill's departure don't go to Turner, that would be a pretty big disappointment for the second-year man.
Based on what we've heard, Turner is doing to see action at cornerback, but just how much is still to be determined.
Don Brown's comments about Vincent Gray really made me think that they like No. 1 and No. 2 on the depth chart at cornerback. Because of that, I think Turner will have a standard season.
He'll work his way into the three-man rotation but it will be like what Gray did last year. He'll basically be there to give Gray and Thomas a blow when the need it and to potentially play in obvious passing situations with extra defensive backs on the field. That should result in him recording his first statistics at U-M and the numbers should be comparable to Gray's from last year.