Playing the waiting game with J.T. Turner, Adrian Witty
The longer it takes for incoming Michigan freshmen J.T. Turner and Adrian Witty to make it through the NCAA Clearinghouse, the less likely they are to play a significant role this year. And that could be bad news for the Wolverines’ thin secondary.
Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez said Monday that Turner and Witty need at least two weeks of practice to realistically be ready to contribute in the opener Sept. 5 against Western Michigan.
“If you get three weeks for sure you can get ready,” Rodriguez said. “Less than two it gets a little shaky depending on how quickly they can learn, but they can maybe do some special teams.”
Because neither player was around for spring practice, Rodriguez said it’s tough to gauge how far behind they are and how quickly they’ll pick up the system. He said both players were expected to compete for playing time this year in a secondary that returns just one starter in Donovan Warren.
Turner, from Ohio’s Washington Massillon High, was one of the highest-rated players in Michigan’s 2009 recruiting class. Rodriguez said last month Turner could play either cornerback or safety, but would begin his Michigan career at corner.
Witty, a prep teammate of Denard Robinson’s in Deerfield Beach, Fla., projects as a safety.
“Both of them are playing a position where we don’t have a lot of bodies at DB,” Rodriguez said. “So both of those guys were, I don’t want to say they were on the top of the depth chart, but guys that we wanted to look at early to see if they could contribute. Again, until they’re here, we won’t be able to react to that.”
Still, Rodriguez remains hopeful both will be cleared to practice soon. He kept spots open for both on Michigan’s 105-man reporting roster, and both have stalls waiting in Michigan’s new locker room.
“I’m pretty optimistic and hopefully (Turner’s) will be quicker,” Rodriguez said. “But wait and see.”