Former Georgia tailback chooses a new school

A.J. Turman scoring a touchdown during G-Day in 2015.

ATHENS — After a long process, part of which played out very publicly, A.J. Turman finally knows where he’s next headed.

But it will still be awhile before he can take the football field.

Turman is joining the football program at Florida Atlantic, the former Georgia tailback told the AJC’s DawgNation on Friday. He will have to sit out this season because of NCAA transfer rules, then will have at least one year of eligibility, plus a sixth year if he is granted a medical redshirt.

“And it’s looking like I should be able to get it,” Turman said.

Because of injuries his first few years, Turman never got a carry at Georgia. He redshirted as a freshman, then was forced to sit out the entire next season. After not playing in 2015, he decided to move on, but new head coach Kirby Smart initially restricted his transfer, releasing him only to schools in Florida other than Miami and Florida.

That led to a debate over Smart’s transfer policies, but Smart eventually relented and allowed Turman to go anywhere other than an SEC school or Georgia Tech. The Miami restriction didn’t end up an issue because Turman did not have any interest in following Mark Richt there.

Instead Turman, an Orlando native, will end up a short distance away, in Boca Raton, Fla. So while Turman did end up at a place within the original release Smart gave him, the principle of it was what had mattered.

“I don’t really want to get into it,” Turman said, with a laugh. “If it went a different way … I don’t know. It was just a long process.”

Turman’s announcement comes the same week that Smart met face-to-face with ESPN’s Mike Greenberg, who had been his most notable critic on restricting Turman’s transfer. Their meeting went without any fireworks.

Turman has moved on as well.

“It was hard at first, just leaving Georgia and everything, the fans and all my good friends. I love Georgia, I still do. I just feel like it’s the best thing for me,” Turman said. “I was blessed to have the opportunity that a lot of schools were still interested in me. I took a lot of visits.  … It’s been a long journey, but I’m just glad it’s at an end, and I can go on and play football.”

 

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