UH’s Turner presses forward with hopes of an NFL career

  • Gary Kazanjian / Associated Press

    Hawaii running back Calvin Turner tries to elude Fresno State defensive back Bralyn Lux during the second half in Fresno, Calif., Saturday.

LAMARIE, Wyo. — When Calvin Turner learned that Jacksonville University would no longer have a collegiate football program, the then-junior was in search of a place to show off his versatility.

Turner, who was the starting quarterback for the Dolphins his junior year, knew it was necessary to play multiple positions for him to have an opportunity to play in the NFL.

Turner admitted he wasn’t discouraged by the discontinuation and the setback, but looked at it as an opportunity to work on his resume to achieve his ultimate dream of playing in the NFL.

“I consider myself an athlete, and I knew if I wanted to play at the next level, that is the position I would play,” Turner said.

After transferring to the University of Hawai‘i in late 2019, former Rainbow Warriors’ coach Nick Rolovich initially had plans for him at slot receiver before the current coach Todd Graham moved him into the backfield.

The move paid dividends with the Rainbow Warriors’ running game instantly.

Last week, the Rainbows achieved their victory by tallying a total of 552 yards of total offense, and none of their points came on touchdown passes.

The University of Hawai‘i utilized its versatile ground attack to amass 323 yards of rushing last week, which featured two 100-yard rushers.

Rainbows’ quarterback Chevan Cordeiro rushed for 116 yards and running back Miles Reed accumulated 109 yards rushing.

Turner was more than effective in integrating himself into the Rainbow Warriors’ offensive system.

Good first impression

Turner had an impressive debut with eight carries for 60 yards and two touchdowns while adding two catches for 23 yards.

“I think it was great, and it allowed me to show my skill sets, especially in front of the three scouts,” Turner said. “I think moving (into the running back position) could benefit me in the long run.”

Rediscovering his passion

Turner, like several football players who saw their first live action last Saturday at Fresno State, admitted during a University of Hawai‘i Zoom press conference he missed being around the game of football.

“I try to find positives in everything, and I just focus on everything that I can control,” Turner said. “The game of football could be taken from me any moment, and since December I have just tried to push through.”

A long way from home

Turner, who keeps a photo of his parents in his locker, is playing far away from them for the first time in his football career.

Turner’s parents, who saw every snap of their son’s collegiate career at Jacksonville State, will miss his first two mainland games, in Fresno, Calif. and Laramie, Wyo.

Turner told the press he isn’t worried about the distance, as he knows his parents are tuning in on the radio.

“I just try to push through,” Turner said. “It’s a beautiful island, and who doesn’t want to play football in paradise.”


Jason Blasco, reporter, can be reached at 245-0437 or jblasco@thegardenisland.com.


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