If there is a football season, Christian Turner won’t be playing in it.
Turner, a junior running back, announced on Twitter Tuesday afternoon that he will be opting out of the season due to concerns surrounding COVID-19. It’s Michigan’s first player to opt out, though high-profile players from around the Big Ten such as Minnesota wide receiver Rashod Bateman and Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons have gone the same route.
Turner played in just eight games last year, rushing for 171 yards and averaging 3.9 yards per carry. He scored his only touchdown of the season against Rutgers in a blowout win.
More likely than not, Turner would have been third or fourth on the depth chart had he opted to play. Hassan Haskins, Zach Charbonnet and Chris Evans are expected to split much of the carries.
Whether it gets to the point where Michigan’s running back situation comes into play, though, is unclear. The Big Ten is rumored to be voting soon on whether to delay the season or move it to the spring. Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh has strongly advocated for a fall season, releasing a statement yesterday that highlighted his own program’s adherence to protocols and low positive test numbers.
“It is proven that the conduct, discipline and structure within our program have led to these results,” Harbaugh said in the statement. “We respect the challenge that this virus has presented, however, we will not cower from it.”