CLEMSON — Super seniors are the talk of college football in 2021. Nolan Turner might be the most valuable one in the country.
The Vestavia Hills, Ala., native picked Clemson over UAB out of high school and arrived on campus in 2016 as an unranked recruit. However, after earning 15 starts over the last couple of seasons, the sixth-year player will enter 2021 as one of the most valuable players on Clemson’s roster.
The 6-foot-1 safety was a second-team All-American last season according to multiple outlets. Turner was voted a permanent team captain in 2020 as the veteran recorded 66 tackles, six tackles for loss, three pass breakups, and three interceptions with over 500 snaps in 11 starts last season. Per Athlon Sports, Turner is a first-team preseason All-ACC selection who will be one of the better defensive backs in college football.
However, this all did not happen just overnight for Turner.
In 2017, Turner played a minor role in 13 games recording 14 tackles. Then the safety saw playing time increased in 2018 recording nearly 400 snaps for the undefeated national champions. Turner finished the season with 44 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, three pass breakups, and an interception. In 2019, Turner was a part-time starter but a major contributor. The veteran played over 500 snaps while recording 66 tackles, two tackles for loss, 10 pass breakups, and two interceptions. This all led to a big season in 2020.
For his career, Turner has nearly 200 tackles to go along with 17 pass breakups and six interceptions in 55 career games. Turner has played over 1,500 snaps in his career. This may be the most dependable player in college football. However, the decision was not difficult for the veteran.
“I kind of had my mind made up right after the last game,” Turner told reporters this spring. “I knew what I was going to do. There’s just things I had to get better at. Obviously, the season didn’t end the way we wanted it to and to just have one more run at it.”
Turner has made plays on the biggest stages for the Tigers and delivered when his team needed it the most. That experience is invaluable and will give defensive coordinator Brent Venables a comfortability level knowing that Turner has things in control. The super senior brings high value to the Clemson defense.
If the Tigers win another national championship, this super senior will play a pivotal role.