The Collegian
Thursday, February 29, 2024

Turner makes NFL debut with the Rams

<p>Kobe Turner, '21, during his time playing for the University of Richmond Spiders. Photo courtesy of Richmond Athletics.&nbsp;</p>

Kobe Turner, '21, during his time playing for the University of Richmond Spiders. Photo courtesy of Richmond Athletics. 

Former University of Richmond football player Kobie Turner, ‘21, played in his first NFL game Sept. 10 in the Los Angeles Rams’ season opener against the Seattle Seahawks. 

Turner, who played defensive tackle for the Spiders for five seasons, joined the Rams in April after the team drafted him in the third round of the 2023 NFL Draft. 

In his debut, Turner acted as the Rams’ second-string nose tackle and during the game, he picked up two tackles and half a sack. 

“BACK-TO-BACK SACKS!” the Rams tweeted during the game. “First the rook Kobie Turner then the vet Aaron Donald.” 

Turner’s sack, which he was assisted on by fellow Rams defensive player, Byron Young, came with about four and a half minutes to go in the final quarter of play. The sack happened on a 2nd and 17 play and forced Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith back nine yards to set up a 3rd and 26 play en route to a Rams victory. 

“I’ve been gifted with some natural leverage,” Turner said in an August interview during training camp. “I’m not the tallest guy but I think my coaches have helped me, I mean everybody has helped me who I’ve learned from to just be able to play, be physical at the point of contact. And that’s why I play football, really.” 

In 38 games played for the Spiders, Turner racked up 158 total tackles, 33.5 tackles for loss, 16 sacks, four forced fumbles, three fumble returns and two touchdowns. 

In the classroom at UR, Turner was a mathematics and music double-major while simultaneously helping lead the football program to a 6-5 record and a Capital Cup victory over the College of William & Mary in his final season with the Spiders. Turner sang in UR’s mixed chorus, Schola Cantorum, and was a member of one of UR’s mixed-gender a cappella groups, Choeur Du Roi while at UR. 

“I always wanted to play football,” Turner said in the training camp interview. “Playing in the NFL has been my dream, and so that’s why being here is so surreal. It’s crazy. But, music is such a huge side of me and especially going through high school and managing the emotion, managing everything that kind of came with high school, music was my outlet.” 

Turner transferred to Wake Forest University in 2022 for his final season of collegiate eligibility. As a member of the Demon Deacons, he had 38 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, two sacks, three forced fumbles and one fumble return in 13 games. 

Turner is the most recent Spider alumnus to lace up for an NFL team. 

Former UR quarterback Kyle Lauletta, ‘18, was drafted by the New York Giants in round four of the 2018 NFL Draft. Lauletta most recently played for the New Jersey Generals of the United States Football League. 

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Aaron Dykes, ‘22, on the other hand, almost made the Minnesota Vikings’ 53-man roster this year after playing in two of the Vikings’ preseason games. 

“I don’t know enough about the NFL to be honest with you, but I do know, if [Turner] doesn’t have a career in the NFL or doesn’t have a long career or whatever it is, it’s not gonna be from a lack of preparedness, a lack of effort,” UR Head Coach Russ Huesman said in May in response to his former player getting drafted. “He’s gonna be a great teammate. Fun to coach, a joy to coach.”

Turner’s next game with the Los Angeles Rams will take place at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, CA against the San Francisco 49ers at 4:05 p.m. Sept. 17. 

Contact sports editor Jimmy James at jimmy.james@richmond.edu.

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