Orlando Boone High’s A.J. Turman is a big, physical, burley running back.
Opponents think that’s all he is because of his big frame (6-1, 205) and knack for seeking out contact. They view him as an inside runner and underestimate his speed.
Perceptions aren’t always true.
“I have a lot of power because I’m bigger,” Turman said. “People always think I’m going to run over them, but I can get around the corner too, so I have those two combinations and it’s hard to take me down because of that.”
Turman, has been electrically timed running a 4.48-second 40-yard dash. At first glance he appears to be more of a lumbering, power-oriented back, but but when he gets that speed behind him, an arm tackle won't do.
As a sophomore, Turman blended explosive power and a surprising burst to run for 1,511 yards and 15 touchdowns during the regular season for the Braves.
That combination has put him on the map. FAU, N.C. State and Boston College have offered him a scholarship. Those are nice to have, but Turman said he was looking to hook bigger fish.
Well, he finally caught one this summer when he landed an offer from Florida State.
“I like the coaches at FSU and I like Tallahassee, so it’s real good to have that offer on the table,” Turman said.
The Seminoles, who have received a verbal commit from teammate and Boone track phenom Marvin Bracy, originally didn’t think Turman had enough speed. He changed that presumption when he went to an FSU camp late this summer. He ran a 4.5 40 and convinced the staff that he was quick enough.
FSU, along with Florida, Auburn and Alabama, are Turman’s favorite programs. He plans on visiting FSU this weekend when the ‘Noles host Oklahoma and will take trips to the other schools too.
The production, measurables and early scholarships have made Turman one of the area’s best junior recruits, as he’s ranked in the Top 5 of the Sentinel’s 2013 Central Florida Super60 list, which will be released today (Sept. 16).
It’s a distinction he is pleased with, but it doesn’t mean much as long as his team is struggling to log its first win of the season.
“It’s real cool and a big deal I guess,” Turman said. “But I’m really not focusing on my rankings. I’m just focusing on my season right now and what we have to do to get better.”
Turman, normally soft spoken, is starting to assert himself more as Boone is trying to rebound from a disappointing and surprising 0-2 start. He is averaging 17 carries per game in the team’s winless start, which is down three a game from last year, but said that will change this Friday against Winter Park.
“I need more touches and Coach (Phil Ziglar) said that too,” Turman said. “He told me that he’s going to change it up for this game.”