HYATTSVILLE, Md. -- In a much-ballyhooed heavyweight bout between DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) and Miami Central (Miami, Fla.), Stags’ senior receiver/safety Darryl Turner recorded three receptions for close to 75 yards, including a 40-yarder down the sideline. Turner ended up suffering a season-ending broken ankle inury during the first quarter, leaving his evaluation incomplete, but we were still able to gauge his game for the first 11 minutes or so Aug. 20.
Here’s our take on his game:
A two-way star, we evaluated Turner from an offensive standpoint since he’s slotted for the slot at Maryland. The 5-foot-9, 190-pounder may not be especially tall, but he has a sturdy, muscular frame, making his difficult to wrap up one-on-one. He’s the type of receiver who could take a pitch in the backfield, motor around end, and break tackles in space.
As a wideout (he lined up on the outside at DeMatha), Turner promptly enters his route, showing nimble feet that permit him to take precise, tight angles. Turner’s a short strider, but he’s exceptionally fluid, which, combined with his pure speed, make him a problem for defenders to stick with. Moreover, he is terrific at getting in and out of his breaks, stopping and starting almost instantaneously.
Since Turner is so on-point and sudden, he is able to disguise his routes well. Basically, he forces a defender’s hand: Will Turner cut inside for a slant, or break to the outside on a post-corner/out-route?
Turner, as aforementioned, packs some punch too, so he can actively defeat jams. In fact, that’s one of Turner’s most impressive qualities, his ability to come off a block; release; and ably execute his pattern.
As far as his catching is concerned, Turner snatches passes with his hands and swiftly tucks the ball away. He may not have a wide catch radius, but he has soft enough mitts where he can snag a wayward throw.
After the catch, Turner's wheels and shiftiness present more issues for the defense. He has make-you-miss moves and doesn’t lose much momentum when changing direction. Turner has considerable burst as well, enabling him to shoot through tight holes and break into the open. He’s not a home-run hitter, but Turner can definitely pull away from linebackers and some safeties.
To improve, we’d like to see Turner become an even more natural receiver. While he’s a good pass catcher, he doesn’t possess the largest hands, which may lead to some drops down the line.
Also, since Turner is only 5-9, he’s probably not going up top for downfield throws on the outside (although he did so against Miami Central). To add even more diversity to his game, Turner has to prove he can be active in the air; rise up with a defender; high-point a ball; and come down with it in traffic.
Finally, while Davis looks powerful compared to his high school counterparts, we’d like to see him continue adding strength without losing speed. And, of course, Terps fans will be eager to see how Turner bounces back from his broken ankle.