June 2, 2012

Turner taking the reins

Kevin McCarthy

Kids are expensive what with growing out of clothes on a seemingly monthly basis, never-ending appetites, gargantuan monthly cell phone bills and the like. But then in some cases money is also required for athletic gear like sport specific shoes, mitts, etc. Seaside High junior Michael Turner is prepping for the upcoming 2012-2013 football season, to be followed by basketball and then baseball and, while the expenses of his athletics participation don't rival our nation's national debt, it's not chump change. However, it's all worth it to follow his dreams.

photo of Michael Turner

Because whatever the cost of the teenage years, it still pales in comparison to the ever burgeoning amount of an annual college scholarship.

The 6-foot-2 Turner is looking forward first to the gridiron as a quarterback and free safety and asked why he plays football, he succinctly responded, "I like the contact." Notice the smile and head nod of every football coach reading this.

This coming season, Turner will take the field for Seaside High, Coach Al Avila in particular who has led the Spartan program for 25 years. Avila runs a spread offense, right in Turner's wheelhouse.

A query regarding what he brings to the football field was answered with, "a strong arm, quick feet, being smart with reads, throwing away from the defender and a sense of when to step up or move sideways if a defender is coming hard from any angle."

This 2013 talent mans positions offensively and defensively which require command and control, split second decision-making and big picture understanding -- big time responsibility which he relishes.

"I work at providing leadership on and off the field," Turner explained. "Plus, I'm the oldest boy at home and I want to set a good example there, too."

About the subject of leadership, Turner's best moment to date on the gridiron is both a literal and figurative example. "I was playing on the same team with my brother Ronnie when I was 11 and he was 9. He got the ball on a punt return and I blocked all the way for him and he scored a touchdown."

On May 18, Turner attended the Elite 11 Regional camp in Oakland, a national quarterback competition involving performing drills, footwork, throwing long and passing accurately.

What did Turner take away from it?

"It was a good experience and I got to see my competition from different states, guys heading to Alabama and USC," he explained. "There were different drills involving footwork and throwing." There were also some NFL coaches and players involved as well as college coaches.

Based upon his showing, he just received a call from Nevada to attend summer camp there.

Right now, it's Seaside team training 6:30 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. Monday through Friday.

It's a pair of National Football League quarterbacks who rank as inspirations for Turner. "I like Michael Vick because he bounced back after all he went through. Cam Newton too because his footwork was questioned and then he won Rookie of the Year."

But it's not all a pigskin sporting life for Turner.

"I like basketball a lot," he offered. He earned First Team All Tri-County League honors this past season and also took away an award for his defensive efforts.

On top of both those sports, he performs as a pitcher and shortstop in baseball come the spring.

"I would love to play football in college but you never know what will happen," said Turner.

He is looking to major in business or sports medicine at the next level.