BOCA RATON – To bolster a position of need, Lane Kiffin is drawing from the position that is perhaps the strongest at FAU.
A.J. Turman, who transferred to FAU from Georgia as a running back, has moved to linebacker – at least for the time being.
“He was kind of buried down on the depth chart with these running backs playing so well,” Kiffin said. “We’re just trying to find a way to get him to play some more.”
At 6-foot-1 and 225 pounds, Turman has the size to make the move.
“It’s something new,” Turman said. “I have to get adjusted to it – learning the defense and just get used to it because I haven’t played it in such a long time.”
As a senior at Orlando-Boone, Turman was a coveted high school running back nationally. Unable to crack the crowded Georgia backfield, Turman transferred to FAU last year, sitting out the season in compliance with NCAA transfer rules.
Turman went from one crowded backfield to another.
The emergence of Devin Singletary to complement the established Buddy Howell left few carries for any other FAU backs. Kerrith Whyte has also impressed this spring, sliding Turman further down the depth chart.
Getting buried on the depth chart shouldn’t be a problem at linebacker – at least during the spring. With starters Azeez Al-Shaair and Khantrell Burden sidelined and Nate Ozdemir, last year’s starting middle linebacker, electing to leave the team to pursue a military career, the Owls are exceedingly thin there.
“I’m picking it up,” Turman said. “It’s going to take a little bit of time but I’m learning.”
Turman believes his physical running style is helping him make the transition.
“I guess I have the linebacker mentality,” he said. “When we do our drills, I like the contact part of linebacker.”
Kiffin likes Turman as a middle linebacker.
Turman worked primarily with the third team on Thursday.
He isn’t disappointed with the switch away from the running back position.
“I don’t think it didn’t work, I just feel like the team could utilize me better at a different position,” Turman said.
Still, Turman holds an affinity for what is, at the moment at least, his former position.
“I still do love running back, don’t get me wrong,” Turman said. “I would definitely do both.”