Turner had three tackles, including a sack, during Alabama’s 27-20 overtime loss to the Wolverines. He finished the 2023 campaign with 50 total tackles, nine sacks and a pair of forced fumbles, all of which were career highs. His strong 2023 campaign earned him a number of accolades, notably consensus All-America and SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors. For his three-year career in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Turner registered 117 total tackles, 21.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
He’ll now look to build off that momentum in pursuit of a successful NFL career.
Turner’s draft stock
Although Turner ranks third among 2024 NFL Draft prospects at his specific position, that may as well be splitting hairs. The two higher-ranked edge rushers — UCLA’s Laiatu Latu and Florida State’s Jared Verse — are directly ahead of him and No. 8 and No. 9 overall in the draft prospect rankings, respectively. In other words, Turner is clearly in the upper echelon within his position group, no matter how you cut it.
CBS Sports’ Chris Trapasso projected the Houston Texans to use the No. 27 overall pick — traded from the Cleveland Browns — on Turner, and that draft position speaks more to team needs than it does Turner’s sheer talent.
“Let’s get Turner and [former Alabama edge rusher] Will Anderson back together again, this time in Houston,” Trapasso wrote. “Turner has all the talent in the world and put it all together in a marvelous 2023 season for the Crimson Tide.”
Wherever Turner lands, experience shouldn’t be an issue as he played heavily across each of his three seasons at Alabama. The 6-foot-4, 242-pound linebacker appeared in all 15 games for the Crimson Tide as a freshman, including a trio of starts, as Alabama reached the College Football Playoff National Championship before losing to Georgia. Turner then started 10 games in 2022 before peaking as a full-time starter in 2023. It shouldn’t take long for him to cause headaches for opposing quarterbacks in the NFL.
What it means for Alabama
Talent acquisition is rarely, if ever, an issue for the Crimson Tide, but there’s no denying that Alabama will miss Turner’s veteran presence from its pass rush in 2024. Candidly, who wouldn’t when a talent that is named the SEC Defensive Player of the Year subsequently departs? With linebacker Chris Braswell — second in sacks for Alabama this season (8) — also likely bound for the NFL Draft, it’s a position that will require the Crimson Tide to do some maturing in 2024.
As of this exact moment, Jihaad Campbell, Deontae Lawson and Trezmen Marshall — all had at least 55 tackles in 2023 — are names Alabama’s linebacker room can expect to have present next season. Of course, it’s difficult to project any team’s 2024 roster at this point given how much attrition is still possible between draft declarations and the transfer portal.
On that note, it’d be no shock if Saban and his staff end up going to the portal in the coming months to bolster their depth at linebacker, among other positions. Such is par for the course in this era of college football if teams want to compete with the best. On the recruiting trail, the Crimson Tide’s 2024 signing class includes edge rushers Sterling Dixon and Jayshawn Ross, both of whom are considered top-20 edge rushers nationally in the class, according to 247Sports.
The outlook will become far more clear once spring football arrives. But what is certain for now is that Alabama is losing one of its most imposing players across both sides of the ball.