Just last week Ohio State landed their 12th commit to their 2022 class when Florida native, Ryan Turner kind of came out of nowhere and gave the Buckeyes his verbal pledge. Admittedly, his recruitment had basically come down to Clemson and Ohio State, so while the Tigers and Buckeyes have certainly had their feuds on the field, these two programs have also been battling it out for some key prospects in the last several classes.
Fortunately for Ohio State, the Buckeyes were able to beat out the Tigers for another cornerback target just as they did in the 2021 class with the 5th-best corner in the class, Jordan Hancock, when he de-committed from Clemson and flipped to Ohio State.
Getting back to Turner, his ranking is a bit atypical for Ohio State cornerback commits. Typically, with the NFL Draft success year in and year out, the Buckeyes bring in top players at the position, but Turner currently checks in as the 35th-best cornerback in the class and as a three-star prospect. Not the grade Buckeye fans are used to seeing, there’s absolutely no reason to be alarmed or even have the slightest notion that this is considered a “reach” that Ohio State took his commitment this early on in the process. The Buckeyes’ coaching staff raves about Turner’s abilities on the field and that alone sums it up. If the coaches know he can play, their opinion pretty much seals the deal.
In addition to the coaching staff’s high view of Turner, his offer list should prove ranking isn’t everything. With offers from the likes of Clemson, Florida, Georgia, LSU and 20-plus more to his name, clearly Turner is an under-the-radar recruit due for a bump in his stock — which looks to be coming in July as 247Sports plans on updating their rankings for the 2022 class. Take all of this into consideration now, and don’t be surprised to see Turner much higher in the prospect rankings when all is said and done.
What are the Buckeyes getting in Ryan Turner?
A Hollywood, Florida product out of Chaminade-Madonna Prep near Miami, Turner is a 6-foot-180 pound stud that in the best single word description should be seen as physical. In addition to his physicality, Turner has incredible speed as well. A 10.9-second runner in the 100-yard dash, Turner possesses the burst that will allow him to stay right with the speedsters who line up across from him.
Ohio State has been at it for a while now, but during Kerry Coombs’ time in the program especially, the Buckeyes love to bring in long and lengthy corners who aren’t afraid to jam a receiver at the line in press-man coverage, but also are smart and quick enough to play in the various zone defensive schemes that allow them to disguise coverage, giving opposing offenses fits. In other words, corners need to be the eraser on the field. They can’t get beat deep; They need to be able to come downhill helping in the run game especially on the perimeter, and finally have to set the edge where nobody gets outside of them, forcing the ball back inside.
Ryan Turner fits this mold perfectly. Whether it’s getting hands on a receiver or playing off the ball, the intangibles Turner brings to the table fit in perfectly for what the Buckeyes want to do on defense, which is why he’s a huge addition for this 2022 class.
Ability to move in space & run with receivers
One of the key aspects that Ohio State and any college program for that matter looks for in their cornerback targets is the ability to run with a receiver off the ball. In this first clip below, you can see Turner has the footwork and more importantly the hips to turn and run with the receiver when the cushion he’s giving is in jeopardy of being beat.
Rather than giving up a big play on the deep ball, Turner has the mobility to sit in his back-pedal and flip his hips. You can tell he’s been coached up with this little reminder. “If he’s even, you’re leaving” which simply put means as soon as the receiver has run the first part of his route (the stem) vertically enough that the defender is in danger of being beat deep, he must flip the hips to run with the offensive player.
The job isn’t finished yet though, any good cornerback is taught to keep their eyes on the receiver and not to get caught looking back at the ball, which will slow him down. Instead, tracking the eyes of the receiver and when the receiver’s arms are extended to make the catch, the defender puts himself in position to do the same by getting his arms extended to either deflect the ball or at least get in the way of the receiver’s vision.
Below, Turner does a great job of running with who he is guarding in man coverage, but he first starts with getting “hands on” on his man and slowing the receiver up. That initial contact will break the receiver’s stride, which is just another way of staying on top and not getting beat deep. An all important skill he’ll need at the next level as well.
Once again, Turner does a fantastic job of getting hands on the receiver, flipping his hips and running with him, and then tracking the eyes to know when the ball is in the air, which then allows the DB to turn his eyes inside and look for the ball himself, which of course sets up the pass break-up thanks to his technique. Picture perfect execution from a well coached up and technical athlete.
Read, react, execute.
In today’s game with high-powered offenses, Turner is not only going to be relied on in coverage. He’s going to have to be physical enough to hit as well. Fortunately, Turner believes the best part of his game is his physicality and ability to come down and hit the opposing team. In this clip below, that opinion is validated.
What I love in this clip is Turner’s vision and ability to read the field. Though he’s lined up across a receiver that has a vertical route, Turner knows he has help over the top, so rather than chasing the receiver, he keeps eyes inside to the field and sees the first level of offense developing with a quick arrow route to the flats by the No. 3 receiver or the man closest to the offensive tackle. Immediately, Turner sees ball out of the QB’s hands and breaks on the targeted receiver.
Again, with great techniques, Turner has his head up and tackles not only the ball carrier, but through the ball carrier, showing what happens when you try to throw on him. A beautiful sequence leads to a dropped ball, and Turner shows exactly how physical he likes to be.
In this next set up clips, Turnery’s ability to break on the ball is the focus. Cornerbacks cannot stay in their backpedal forever. They’re going to have to break on the ball when it’s in the air and either jump the route for an interception or at least get their hands in the play to break it up. Fortunately, Turner’s film is loaded with perfect execution on how to break on the ball so the pass is not completed. Whether it’s tracking the ball in the air with his vision or even reacting once the ball has been thrown, Turner is all over the field and does an incredible job of breaking up several passes.
Watch here on this slant route by the opposing team. Turner stays in his backpedal while the quick three-step slant route is being run. Once the receiver breaks and take the route towards the middle of the field, this is a dead give away for a polished defensive back to break on the ball and get downhill to break up the pass. Turner does exactly what’s needed here. See his instant break on the ball and again running through the receiver to cause the incompletion. These quick hitting slants are used all of the time at the next level, so knowing how well he does with this already is encouraging.
Here again he causes an incompletion. This route by the offense is a quick “hitch” route, where the QB is taught to get the ball out immediately after receiving the snap. The idea here is to take the easy money. If a receiver can get a quick easy five yards on the catch that’s perfect, but the end result is hoping he can shed the tackle by the cornerback who is usually lined up 1v1 and make an even bigger gain.
Turner in this clip eliminates any chance of the receiver breaking the tackle. Right away the intangibles kick in. See how Turner is able to plant on his left foot, which is the break point (breaking on the ball/route), and then is able to stay balanced to come up and make the play. The best part of this play is seeing how he uses his right arm to secure the tackle by locking the receiver in place, but also using his left hand to deflect the pass. Arguably the best clip in his film even though it’s simple just shows how technically sound this kid is.
You should feel very confident in what Ohio State is getting thanks to Ryan Turner’s commitment. Besides the Ohio State official set in June, his other visits are off. This recruitment looks to be totally shut down, and it’s because of the chance to develop at Ohio State like so many other great cornerbacks that are now playing in the NFL. If you had to have a former Buckeye comparable to Turner, I would go with Denzel Ward. Seeing the similarities on their physicality as well as their ability to read and react is just too close not to mention here.
Certainly having another player of Ward’s caliber wouldn’t be an issue with Ohio State. The Buckeyes are getting a good one.