Editor’s Note: I’ve added the Duz and player videos at the end of my initial article. Enjoy
Pat Narduzzi announced a surprise commit from a grad transfer from Maryland today.
DJ Turner is a redshirt senior, who will have two years to play based on the NCAA waiver for this season.
The 5’9″, 203 lb Turner’s receiving resume is limited, but his special teams resume is extensive.
From the official Maryland Football website:
As a Senior (2019): Started in first three games of the season (Howard, 8/31 – at Temple, 9/14), redshirted the rest of the year … Tallied four receptions for 84 yards over the three games … Also returned three punts for 107 yards and a touchdown … Had a career-best 55 yard punt return in fourth quarter at Temple (9/14) … In win over #21 Syracuse (9/7) recorded two receptions for 53 yards, a 29-yard catch and a 24-yarder … Returned a punt 40 yards for a score vs. Howard (8/31) to put Maryland up 42-0 … Was the first Terrapin punt return touchdown since Teldrick Morgan (83 yards) vs. Rutgers on November 26, 2016.
He also won one preseason award:
2020 Athlon Sports Preseason All-Big Ten
He was listed as a 5.8 on Rivals, but oddly enough he had only four offers. Maryland was the only Power 5 school to offer. Could it be more than just a coincidence that one school to offer was UMASS?
Turner does not come to Pitt without baggage (was charged with a DUI after UM’s 59-0 loss to Penn State last year), but as someone who has made mistakes in his life, I personally believe that most people deserve a second chance (with a short leash attached of course). Pitt has a strong locker room culture, so perhaps the change of scenery will be a good thing for Tuner.
Here are the sordid details if you are interested:
Maryland senior wide receiver DJ Turner will not return for the remainder of the 2019 season, head coach Mike Locksley announced Wednesday evening.
Turner was charged with a litany of counts — including driving under the influence — after being pulled over in the early hours of Sept. 20. This occurred during the bye week following the defeat against Temple in Philadelphia. Turner hasn’t seen the field since, though Locksley never announced a formal suspension.
That means Turner has only played three games this season, keeping him eligible for a redshirt year. According to Locksley, Turner and the team plan to take advantage of that opportunity in an effort to keep the veteran pass catcher on the 2020 roster.
“We’re going to utilize the redshirt year that he has to allow him to continue to work on his issues off the field, which he’s doing a great job on,” Locksley said. “We want to keep supporting him as we have been, but we’re going to utilize the redshirt season that he has, and hopefully get him back next year to play.”
Turner did not play many meaningful snaps as a receiver last season, nor the season before.
In 2019 he was targetted nine times and pulled in four receptions, but he did average 21.6 YPC with 11.5 YAC per reception. Can anyone say “sideways pass”?
He had zero drops as well. Although the sample size is pretty small…
Overall he graded out at 58.9 – on the low side of average – but again small sample size.
In 2018 he grabbed 13 balls out of 18 targets, but had three drops. His receiving grade was nearly identical at 58.5…so he didn’t develop as a receiver year over year. That’s too bad.
He’ll make his contribution as a punt returner and maybe as a bubble screen guy in the early going. Hopefully he’ll put some work into learning the route tree and blossom over the course of the season. That would set him up for a nice super-senior year in 2021, and add some much-needed depth and experience to a young receiving corps next season.
Hail to Pitt