Player capsule: Tre Turner
Position: Running Back
Eligibility: Redshirt Freshman
Weight: 191 pounds
2016 season quick review: After arriving in Tempe as an early enrollee in the 2016 class out of New Orleans, Turner redshirted in a deep Arizona State backfield. He was the No. 62 running back prospect nationally in the 2016 class by Scout, No. 21 in the South and No. 2 in Louisiana. A two-sport athlete Turner was in the USA Baseball 17-and-under National Developmental Program and is expected to play for the Sun Devils, though he is redshirting this year and not practicing regularly.
SunDevilSource.com analysis: Turner was known for his speed in high school, 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 4.38 second 40-yard dash time, and ran in the 4.4s at Florida State and Mississippi State last summer. He was initially committed to Mississippi State before reopening his recruitment and eventually settling on ASU due to its two-sport profile.
As a senior in high school Turner's production decreased to 551 rushing yards on 154 carries (3.6 yards per carry) with six touchdowns and 222 receiving yards on 15 catches with two touchdowns. While he played in 10 games, Turner said he was only healthy in about five games and played the rest with a shoulder injury.
Since he was redshirting and buried on the ASU depth chart there wasn't much of an opportunity to really evaluate Turner in person last year, and that's continued into the spring of 2017. Typically the backups who got reps were walk-ons like Jacom Brimhall and Gil'Scott Jackson, which is reflective of how far Turner still has to go in order to potentially earn playing time into the future.
On film, Turner plays low 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. He has a good top end gear but is more of an arcing style finesse runner than a violent, aggressive cutter, or a back who transitions at speed, which is an area he'll have to further develop in order to maximize his acceleration and high RPM motor. Right now he's a back who looks good in space, but ordinary in traffic. That doesn't work in the Pac-12 unless it is part of a great overall offense, and in particular, with an elite offensive line and a highly-tailored play calling approach for the personnel.
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 work product 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.
What limits Turner is his relative lack of physicality and ability to stay upright through contact. He's also not as elusive a runner as he should be given his lower center of gravity and the type of open field speed he possesses, which yields some concern about his overall vision and instinct. 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. He needs to become more elusive around would-be tacklers, and increase his shiftiness, as well as his power through contact.
Projected depth chart status: Turner is well down the line in the pecking order for playing time in 2017, with seniors Demario Richard and Kalen Ballage atop the depth chart and sophomore Nick Ralston also clearly ahead of him. Plus, highly regarded freshman Eno Benjamin is a more physically gifted player. So it's unlikely Turner sees the field this year, and beyond that, moving into the two-deep is going to be difficult. He'll have to continue to work and develop quite a bit from a physicality standpoint and stay focused on skill improvement without the reward of playing time if he's going to earn his way onto the field in 2018 or beyond.