The Nebraska Cornhuskers got a big boost in recruiting when they were able to snag Jamal Turner in the class of 2011. The Huskers then switched Turner from his position in high school, quarterback, to wide receiver when he arrived in Lincoln.
Turner started the season strong, recording a reception in six of the first seven games of the season. However, he barely played and did not record a statistic in the last six games.
Husker fans saw glimpses of what Turner can bring to this offense. Turner took a screen and picked up a nice gain, but nearly broke it for a touchdown. He also made some nice catches in traffic last year.
But it was what he did not do in practice that got him “in the doghouse” as some of the media likes to put it.
So what does Turner have in store for this year?
Tim Beck needs to get involved to add yet another dimension to this offense. An opposing defense can attempt to prepare for the speed, but how fast can they make that reaction?
Just picture this: Turner runs across the formation, Martinez receives the snap, and then Martinez runs a zone read with Turner. If Martinez keeps, he then runs the option in the direction Turner was coming from with either Rex Burkhead or Ameer Abdullah, or even both like they did versus Michigan. Even then, the Huskers could easily pull a tackle with Turner and Martinez could throw a screen back that way.
That is just a single possibility that Turner could help with in this offense. Turner has speed to run right by defensive backs, and similar to Reggie Bush, can make a play out of nothing.
Turner also has soft hands that allowed him to make some tough catches. And while Turner is playing wide receiver, he did play quarterback in high school. Perhaps a reverse pass back, similar to the Eric Crouch touchdown against Oklahoma a few years back could easily be incorporated into Tim Beck’s offense.
While Turner may not have to touch the ball, his presence will create another headache that opposing defenses will have to account for. Now, just to see him on the field this fall.