Utah State football: Star running back Turbin headed for NFL

Published: Saturday, Dec. 24 2011 7:09 p.m. MST

Running back Robert Turbin rushed for 1,517 yards this year and finished his USU career with 51 total touchdowns.

Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News

LOGAN — After a few weeks of speculation, Utah State University running back Robert Turbin has officially decided to turn pro and will enter his name in April's NFL Draft.

"Id like to Thank all the fans of Utah state for all ur support thru wins n losses, and thru injuries and health," Turbin said on his personal twitteraccount (@RobT_33) on Friday night. "Some of u already kno but after going back and forth with my decision I've decided that its best for me n my family to take the next n go pro. I appreciate everyone who's helped me along the way and who has supported. Utah state will continue to grow and hopefully I've left something new guys can improve on when they go in and get their opportunity."

Turbin had been reluctant to tip his hand regarding his decision when repeatedly asked about it over the final few weeks of the season, giving no comment after the Aggies' bowl loss in Boise. But he did send evaluation paperwork to the NFL following the Aggies' regular-season finale win at New Mexico State.

The junior running back rushed for 1,517 yards this season, currently the eighth-highest total in the nation and finishing just 20 yards shy of Utah State's single-season school record set by Demario Brown in 1999. The yardage came on 249 carries for an average of 6.1 yards per carry, the third-highest average amongst the top 10 rushers in the NCAA.

Turbin also tied the school record for career rushing touchdowns with 40 and set the total career touchdowns record at 51. For his tremendous season, Turbin was named the Western Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year.

An early projection from www.nfldraftscout.com has Turbin as the 11th-ranked running back in the 2011 draft and being taken around the fourth round. with the following excerpt from his player profile.

"For those who haven't seen Turbin, he's a virtual pinball of muscle," nfldraftscout.com wrote in Turbin's profile on their Web site. "Possessing as impressive an upper body physique as any running back in the country (well, perhaps excluding Alabama's Trent Richardson), Turbin uses his strong arms and good leg drive to plow through defenders. He's hardly just a power runner, however, possessing surprising agility and acceleration for such a powerful back."

The NFL Draft will start with the first round on Thursday, April 26. The second and third rounds will be on Friday, April 27, and the final four rounds will take place on Saturday, April 28.

With Turbin leading the charge, Utah State set school records in total yards with 5,945 and in rushing yards with 3,675. The Aggies finished the season with a 7-6 record and their first bowl appearance since 1997. In the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, Turbin ran for 101 yards in a losing effort as Ohio slipped past Utah State 24-23.

The Aggies will have to replace both Turbin and senior running back Michael Smith in the backfield next season.

Kerwynn Williams, the Aggies' third-leading rusher this season, will move to the top of the depth chart next year, with Robert Marshall and Joe Hill likely to see an increase in carries as well.

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