The passing game is obviously a critical aspect of any team coached by Dino Babers. Because of that, it comes as no surprise that the Syracuse University football team continues to look for dynamic playmakers at the wide receiver position to help the Orange put up the kind of numbers that Babers has had at his previous coaching stops. One of the latest to get an offer from the Orange is DJ Turner, a speedy receiver from DeMatha (Md.) who is currently committed to Maryland.

Turner is a 5-foot-9, 184 pound slot receiver who you may remember seeing on ESPN at the start of this past football season, when he suffered a gruesome leg injury on national TV when DeMatha played Miami Central. Turner wound up missing his entire senior season, but remains a high 3-star prospect and received an offer from Reno Ferri and the Orange yesterday.

Prior to his injury against Miami Central, he had three catches for 54 yards and was having his way with the South Florida defensive backs, and seemed poised to be a breakout star on the high school football scene. In addition to being a Maryland commit and having a new offer from Syracuse, Turner also holds offers from Virginia and Western Michigan, as well as Army and Old Dominion.

Last year when he competed at The Opening, his athleticism was on full display. He came away with a SPARQ rating of 122.55, with a verified 40 time of 4.49 seconds and a shuttle time of 4.09 seconds. Those numbers ranked him just ahead of Miles Sanders, the top ranked running back in the class of 2016 and a teammate of current Syracuse target Jo-El Shaw. Overall, his SPARQ score ranked him 22nd out of 166 participants at the most elite football camp in the country, in terms of overall athleticism.

Turner obviously doesn’t have any senior highlights to take a look at, but check out his junior highlights above and you’ll see just what a dynamic athlete he is. In the first few plays he takes a screen pass, breaks tackles, and finds the end zone; picks off a pass and returns it more than 100 yards for a score; and shows off his quickness and agility on a punt return touchdown.

From a physical standpoint, he’ll remind Syracuse fans of Brisly Estime, in that he’s fairly small at 5-foot-9 but is solidly built with good strength. And again, it can’t be stressed enough how electric he can be in the open field. He’s got outstanding lateral quickness and breaks tackles well, particularly for a receiver his size. It remains to be seen just how interested he is in flipping from the Terps to Syracuse, especially given that he’s a Maryland kid who has been committed to his home state team for almost a year exactly (he pledged on January 24 of last year), but Syracuse would welcome his explosiveness and playmaking ability with open arms.

It’s an interesting situation to monitor, particularly given the recent coaching change at Maryland (Turner was obviously recruited by the old staff) and the turmoil there recently with a few of the program’s biggest commits, like Dwayne Haskins and Keandre Jones, two other in-state kids, flipping their commitments this week.

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Jeff is a 2003 graduate of Syracuse University, and has been published on various websites including,,,, and, among others. His work was featured in the New York Times bestselling book You Might Be a Zombie and Other Bad News. He's got a wife, and a toddler he's brainwashing to love Syracuse. Jeff's a pretty great guy, overall, and would never steal your car. Follow him on Twitter: @jekelish