A.J. Turman watched last season while fellow freshman tailbacks Brendan Douglas and J.J. Green got their carries when Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley were sidelined by injuries.
Turman‚Äôs redshirt is behind him and he‚Äôs now working this spring to earn his spot in what should be a crowded backfield this August with Gurley, Marshall, Douglas and touted incoming freshmen Sony Michel and Nick Chubb.
With Green now a defensive back, Turman is getting chances to open eyes now.
‚ÄúThis spring is just like a big stepping stone for me,‚Äù Turman said Tuesday. ‚ÄúI can actually make my mark and get my opportunity.‚Äù
Turman has rushed for 42 yards on 14 carries in two spring scrimmages and will get another chance to show what he can in Saturday‚Äôs G-Day spring game.
He‚Äôs already made a ‚Äúpositive statement,‚Äù for himself this spring, coach Mark Richt said.
‚ÄúA.J. has really improved a lot,‚Äù Richt said. ‚ÄúHe works as hard as anybody that we have on the team. ‚Ä¶ He‚Äôs a really hard-working guy and he‚Äôs getting better because of it.‚Äù
The 6-foot, 210-pound Turman dealt with a minor knee injury in preseason camp last year that he called ‚Äúhorrible timing.‚Äù The Orlando product traveled to Tennessee on Oct. 5, but figured he would redshirt because he was behind in learning the plays.
Now, he‚Äôs trying to show coaches what he can offer now.
‚ÄúI really like a lot of contact,‚Äù Turman said. ‚ÄúI‚Äôm a contact back. I try to get yards after contact. There‚Äôs a lot of stuff I still have to focus on, like getting my pad level down … and accelerating more at the line of scrimmage.‚Äù
Follow Marc online at twitter.com/marc.weiszer.