UGA won’t have to sweat it out until February for a commitment at running back.
AJ Turman of Orlando committed to UGA on Tuesday evening, picking the Bulldogs over his other finalists of Tennessee, Auburn, Florida State and Miami. Turman is ranked as a 4-star prospect by ESPN, Rivals and 247sports, along with a 3-star recruit by Scout.
Turman is UGA’s first commitment at RB for its 2013 class after losing 5-star Derrick Henry to Alabama.
UGA has two of the SEC’s brightest young stars at running back in Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall, but desperately needs depth behind them. The Bulldogs have to sign at least one running back for 2013, and they hope to finish with two.
Here’s what some of the experts had to say about Turman:
UGA’s other primary target at running back is Norcross High School’s Alvin Kamara, one of the nation’s elite recruits. Kamara, who is ranked as the No. 3 overall all-purpose running back by Rivals, lists Alabama and UGA as his co-leaders. His decision will play out over the next few months, and maybe until February.
By taking such an aggressive approach and landing Turman, UGA has secured at least one prospect at a position of need, rather than placing all of its hopes on Kamara or another recruit who will likely wait to decide much closer to signing day – leaving open the possibility that they may go elsewhere, and forcing the Bulldogs to fall back on a secondary target too late in the recruiting process like last year.
Last year, UGA had a rough time on signing day with chasing star-studded prospects at other positions. The Bulldogs sent scholarship papers to nine elite targets that were either undecided or heavily considering switching their commitments, and ended up signing two. UGA finished with only 19 signees – one of Mark Richt’s smallest classes, creating depth problems on the roster. The Bulldogs went through that recruiting cycle without signing a wide receiver or middle linebacker.
Two years ago, UGA boldly played a “high risk” strategy with Isaiah Crowell, making him the only running back the Bulldogs recruited until the end. There wasn’t a backup plan. On signing day, fortunately for UGA (at the time), Crowell held a puppy and said “I’m going to be Dawg” over signing papers with Alabama or Auburn.
Turman is commitment No. 27 for UGA’s 2013 class, with the Bulldogs likely to sign around 32-34 in February. Some of the top remaining targets are DT Montravius Adams, OL Laremy Tunsil, DT Toby Johnson, OL Tyrone Crowder, DB Brendan Langley (committed to South Carolina) and WR Ja’Quay Williams (committed to Auburn).
On Tuesday, UGA both gained and lost a recruit. DB Steven Nelson, a Warner Robins native who plays for a California junior college, backed off his pledge to UGA because he hadn’t heard much from the Bulldogs since committing last February. Click here to read more.
WE’RE LESS THAN THREE MONTHS AWAY FROM SIGNING DAY
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