Tre Turner evaluation; ASU RB analysis

Arizona State added a backfield speedster to its 2016 commitment list Sunday with the decision of Louisiana running back Tre Turner. What's ASU getting in Turner and how does it impact recruiting and the team moving forward at the position? We go in depth.

Running Back

Ideal scholarship roster number: 5-6

Potential 2016 returning number: 5-6 (Demario Richard, Kalen Ballage, De'Chavon Hayes, Nick Ralston, Morie Evans, Jaason Lewis -- versatile player who will likely primarily play 3-back)

Likely returning number: 4-5

Commitments: 2 (Freddie Holly, Tre Turner)

Remaining ideal number: 0

The Skinny: Arizona State is in a strong position projecting to 2016 assuming all of its players at the position are eligible and healthy going into next year. Even so, it can't easy up on the throttle too much, as Demario Richard and Kalen Ballage will be juniors that year and it's difficult to project whether one of them could end up an early NFL Draft entrant.

Also, running back is a position group which needs to be very well stocked with talent at all times, particularly with how the Sun Devils like to use two-back formation groups frequently.

The early recruiting cycle additions of Freddie Holly and now Tre Turner gives the Sun Devils their targeted number of two backs in the class and they won't need to any other players here as long as they hold on to the ones they now have in the fold. As it stands now they could have as many as scholarship running backs in the fold in 2016, a number that is higher than at any point in time since Todd Graham became the head coach at ASU, and certainly at or just above the upper limits of where they should be in terms of scholarship allocation.

At 5-foot-9 and 191 pounds, Turner is the No. 48 running back prospect nationally, No. 16 in the South and No. 2 in Louisiana. A two-sport star who will also play baseball (outfield) at ASU, Turner was in the USA Baseball 17-and-under National Developmental Program.

Turner is known for his speed, with the Times-Picayune calling him the "best home run threat" of the running backs in the state's 2016 class. He purportedly turned in a verified 4.38 second 40-yard dash time, and ran in the 4.4s at Florida State and Mississippi State last summer.

In 10 games as junior, Turner had 858 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns for a team that went 5-5.

Last October, Turner committed to Mississippi State, but ultimately reopened his recruitment in January, picking up a reported offer from Texas A&M at that time. Arizona, Arkansas, Cal, Houston, Kentucky, Missouri, Ole Miss, Miss St, Texas A&M, South Carolina, Utah and Vanderbilt are some of the 20 or so schools to have reportedly offered Turner during the course of his recruitment.

Holly and Turner are relatively complimentary players, with Holly being a little bigger framed and more of a slalom style inside runner who is aggressive entering the hole and at the second level and can wear on teams. Meanwhile, Turner plays lower to the ground and is a patient back who likes to feel his way to the hole and then use an impressive linear burst of speed to try to break runs.

Turner has relatively quick feet he turns over well without being choppy, and is very physically composed, which on film belies his impressive overall speed. He has a good top end gear, which a lot of similar players lack and is one of his better attributes. In traffic, he's more of an arcing style runner than a violent, aggressive cutter, or a back who transitions at speed though, which is an area he'll have to further develop in order to maximize his acceleration and high RPM motor.

With a naturally low operation base and the way he feels for run lanes, Turner flows well into space and can gain the edge effectively. This also makes him a good candidate as a stretch zone runner and receiving target on the full range of screens, both inside and out. He projects to have full service ability within the ASU scheme, even though there's not enough film to really determine his capability as a route runner in more space with how ASU uses its backs in the slot. But he uses his feet a bit like Demario Richard on screens and probably is a similar type of route runner.

The strength and conditioning program in college will be critically important for Turner. He tends to have good forward lean through contact and can additional yards, but is not as elusive a runner as he can be given his lower center of gravity and the type of open field speed he possesses. He doesn't have the separating power cuts at speed that enable runners of his type to truly flourish at the high college level and beyond. This can be further refined to some degree though with a lot of lower half and core strength and flexibility work, however. How much will ultimately determine his ceiling.

As a blocker, Turner needs an overhaul of his approach. He doesn't tend to attack what's in front of him or use his hands properly, instead choosing to use his arms and really get in the way of defenders instead of delivering the blow. But he does have a good base here, and a lot of it is developing the mindset and technique.

Turner should be, at minimum, a solid mid-tier Pac-12 running back with a versatile skill set and someone who makes sense as an ASU target from a schematic fit standpoint. He's very much in the mold of the types of backs the staff has recruited since arriving in Tempe.


Sun Devil Source Top Stories