The Wolverine

March 2018

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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MARCH 2018 THE WOLVERINE 63 BY ANDREW VAILLIENCOURT Michigan's current stable of run- ning backs isn't known for its power or its pass blocking, but Buford (Ga.) High three-star running back Chris- tian Turner is looking to change that. The bruiser, listed at 5-11 and 185 pounds, has the ability to push past defenders. "His number one strength is point of contact," Buford High running backs coach Fyrone Davis said. "His yards after contact is his strength — you better buckle up because he's so explosive from the hips to the chest. "He's going to hit you and run you high — that's what he's gifted at. A lot of people don't have that." He added that Turner also has power, speed and quick feet. "He's very physical," Davis said. "He's very explosive, I think that's what makes him so good, he's very fast in the hole, very explosive on contact. His footwork is really, re- ally good. He does some amazing things." During his senior season, Turner worked extensively on his pass-pro- tection abilities and became profi- cient by the end of the season. It was one of his and his coach's goals to make sure the protection was good. "One thing he's really good at is pass protection," Davis said. "I told him, you will play at Michigan if you do what you did in high school as far as the protection game, understand- ing the pickups and all that. You will play because you've been gifted with everything else." Turner played for a highly thought of prep program, known for winning championships and having tradition, and he wanted his college experience to be similar. Having a good alumni base was also important, making Michigan a perfect fit. "We talked about the big M factor," Davis said. "The block M is all over the world and everybody knows who Michigan is." Davis has been a prep coach for 19 years and seen a number of tal- ented backs up close, including for- mer Clemson star James Davis, who totaled 3,881 rushing yards and 47 touchdowns in his four years as a starter for the Tigers. The two-time first-team All-ACC pick was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in 2009. "Christian's one of my elite backs, and I don't use that word lightly," Davis said. "When I say elite, people know what I mean." Off the field, the coach added, Turner is a joy to be around and will be a great addition for Michigan. "He's funny, he's a high-charac- ter guy, he makes you laugh," Da- vis said. "He's sharp and great in the classroom. He enjoys school, it's easy for him and always has been. He likes to work." ❏ Christian Turner Powers His Way To Michigan STATISTICS Year Carries Yds. TD 2017* 115 801 10 2016 135 1115 18 2015 82 789 9 *Only played seven games due to leg injury. HONORS • Was tabbed to Georgia's All-Region 8-AAAAA team, voted on by coaches, following his senior season. • Played for the National USA team in the International Bowl. Ran 11 times for 86 yards and two touchdowns, and caught two passes in his team's win. RECRUITMENT • Committed on April 10, 2017, pick- ing U-M over Notre Dame. • Special teams/linebackers coach Chris Partridge and offensive coordi- nator Tim Drevno recruited him. DID YOU KNOW? • Born Nov. 22, 1999. • Led his team to a 13-2 record and appearance in the state championship game as a junior. They went 11-2 and made the semifinals in 2017. • Has a 3.39 GPA. THEY SAID IT • Buford High School running backs coach Fyrone Davis: "My per- sonal opinion is that if he can get his pass-catching ability up, he can do some amazing things. If he can grow in that area, he's going to be dynamite at Michigan because he un- derstands the game." • Southeast recruit- ing analyst Chad Simmons: "When I describe Turner I call him a slasher. He has good, not elite, speed, but is quick, has a good burst up the field and runs with patience. He plays for one of the top high school programs in America, so he will come out of there ready to compete in Ann Arbor." CHRISTIAN TURNER RUNNING BACK 5-11 • 185 BUFORD HIGH SCHOOL BUFORD, GA. RANKINGS STARS NAT. POS. STATE ✪ ✪ ✪ — 18 47 ✪ ✪ ✪ — 37 60 ✪ ✪ ✪ ✪ — 21 45 2018 FOOTBALL RECRUITING ISSUE 2018 Projection When Michigan gets ready to trot out onto the field in 2018, there will still be some solid running back depth on the roster. Chris Evans will be entering his junior year, Karan Higdon will be a senior and Kareem Walker will be just a redshirt sopho- more. O'maury Samuels, meanwhile, will be a sophomore, and Kurt Taylor will be a redshirt freshman. Turner could see the field as a freshman if he continues his growth as a pass blocker. That was a weak- ness this past season with U-M's rushers and provides an immediate opportunity for him. ranked Turner a four-star recruit. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM MARCH 2018 THE WOLVERINE 63

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