Maryland football coach Mike Locksley talks about the suspension of wide receiver DJ Turner after a Sept. 20 DUI charge.
Coming off Maryland’s biggest shutout loss in six seasons, first-year football coach Mike Locksley didn’t have a lot of good news to share going into Saturday’s game at Rutgers. Much of what Locksley did report centered on two players whose college careers have long been tied together.
Locksley announced at his weekly news conference Tuesday that redshirt junior running back Lorenzo Harrison III will “likely” miss the remainder of the season after tearing the MCL and partially tearing the ACL in his right knee in Friday night’s 59-0 home loss to then-No. 12 Penn State. It’s the same knee that required what his father described as “minor” knee surgery last season.
Locksley also said senior wide receiver/punt returner DJ Turner, who sat out Friday’s game to focus on what Locksley said at the time were “non-football issues,” will miss Saturday’s game after he had been charged with DUI and other driving-related offenses Sept. 20.
It was the latest piece of bad luck for Harrison, who missed all but the first two games of last season with a knee injury that required surgery. It was a case of bad decision-making for Turner, who had finally seemed to find a recurring role on special teams while also being in the mix at slot receiver. Turner has four catches for 84 yards this season and has returned three punts for 107 yards, including a 40-yard return for a touchdown against Howard.
The two players, who came to Maryland together three years ago from nearby DeMatha, had also been suspended the last four games of their freshman season for their alleged involvement in an incident in which an Airsoft rifle was fired on campus. The charges were eventually dropped and both players were reinstated shortly after the season ended.
“We’re disappointed in DJ’s decision-making a couple of weeks ago, off the field,” Locksley said. “He won’t be playing this week against Rutgers. He’ll continue to meet and practice with us. I’ll say this: DJ’s part of our football family, and families support each other. We’ll continue to work through this, and also understand there will be repercussions for making poor decisions and choices in your life.”
Locksley said he will continue to work with the university’s Office of Student Conduct. But the coach said he decided to sit Turner even before consulting with the university.
According to public records, Turner was stopped by campus police near the university’s fraternity row at 1:23 a.m. on a day that was part of a bye week for the football team. Along with the DUI, Turner was also charged with negligent driving, spinning the wheels of his car, failure to obey properly placed traffic control device instructions, failure to stop at a stop sign and willfully disobeying a police officer’s order.
Locksley said “we’ll put this behind us” and won’t discuss the matter until it is adjudicated.
As for Harrison, he was one of several Terps to come out of Friday’s game because of an injury. Harrison, who had seven carries for 70 yards in two games, was expected to play a bigger role after returning from a hamstring injury that had kept him out of the previous two games, especially since redshirt junior Jake Funk tore his ACL against Temple.
Both players were not better than third on the depth chart behind redshirt sophomore Anthony McFarland Jr. and junior Javon Leake, as well as junior Tayon Fleet-Davis.
“We still have some talent there,” Locksley said. “It’s a luxury having the depth that we’ve had, losing Jake Funk, the leadership of him, and finally getting LoLo healthy. He was going to be a big part of our game plan in the Penn State game with some of the different things he was capable of doing. It hurts, but we still have three really talented guys. All three of those guys are really capable playmakers for us and are still one of the strengths of our team.”
Locksley said McFarland wasn’t 100% against Penn State and had missed much of the bye week practices with a high ankle sprain.
Locksley said after Friday’s game that redshirt sophomore offensive tackle Marcus Minor had suffered a dislocated toe, but as of Monday he was still listed as a starter for Saturday’s game. The same was true for senior cornerback Marcus Lewis, who also left the game with injuries and did not return. Senior nose tackle Oluwaseun Oluwatimi left late in the game and did not return.
Locksley said everyone but Harrison will be a “game-time” decision come Saturday.