RICHMOND, Va. -- Watch only a few moments of any Richmond Spider football practice or game and Kobie Turner will somehow get you to notice.
Whether it's with the way he plays or the way he leads, Turner stands out as a person who demands your attention.
“He has the best work ethic of anyone I've ever played with,” teammate Caleb Brooks, who is also Turner’s cousin, said. “His motor is crazy, he's all over the field.”
“The way he practices, the tempo he practices at, the body language all show these guys that really good players can practice hard and continue to practice hard," Richmond Head Coach Russ Huesman added.
As good as Turner is at football, the game was almost an afterthought to him.
And his arrival on the University of Richmond's campus almost didn't happen.
Four years ago, Huesman and his coaches went to Northern Virginia to recruit Brooks.
They got more out of the trip than they bargained for.
“There's a big dude standing in the kitchen,” Huesman recalled, “and we're in the living room and they go ‘oh by the way this is my cousin.’”
“About five coaches talking to him (Brooks), telling him about the Richmond guarantee and about how great the school was,” Turner recalled. “I was in the kitchen and said ‘that sounds like a pretty nice school!'"
Turner decided to walk on at Richmond and play college football without a scholarship.
It was a feeling-out process for both the team and Turner.
“As I played a couple of practices I realized that I really belonged at this level, I really belonged at this school,” Turner said. “This is where I'm meant to be.”
"He was a dynamic high school player,” Huesman added. “I don't know why he wasn't recruited more than he was.”
High school football players will usually attend summer camps in order to be seen by college coaches with scholarship offers. Turner had other interests at the time.
“I was arranging stuff for acapella groups and I conducted a song my senior year of choir, so I was really big into that side of things,” Turner said.
Turner always had an affection for music. His mother sang in their church choir and he has been interested in all forms of music throughout his life.
His vocal talent got noticed quickly.
“We tried out for this middle school talent show, me, him, and my brother” Brooks said. “Three of us together and they kicked us two out and would only let Kobie sing. It was 'Hold My Hand' by Michael Jackson. That was like, wow he has pipes for sure.”
That talent has progressed right along with his football prowess and has gotten him attention and admiration for more than just what he does on the field.
Turner was selected to sing the national anthem before a Spiders basketball game.
“I was moved,” Huesman recalled. “I thought that was so impressive. The composure. How well it was done. It made you proud to be a coach.”
Turner was recruited again, this time by University president Ronald Crutcher, to join him in a special performance of Lift Evr'y Voice which was played before one of this year's home basketball games.
“We got together, got the sheet music, went to one rehearsal, and we're like wow, this is going to work out really well,” Turner said.
“It's crazy to see him go 100 percent in football and his music career,” Brooks added. “He's singing with the president here and how many hours he practices singing and how many hours he puts in the film room and in the weight room. Always busy, always working. You're inspired to go after your dreams. You can be great at two things. You can walk on at a school and earn a scholarship your first year and become an all-American. It's kind of a dream story.”
“After senior year, the most important thing is definitely football,” Turner admitted. “I see myself doing this and I'm going to try to go get it. But I have to have this other side of me otherwise I'm not really complete.”
Turner’s nickname is The Conductor, and he has a double major in Music and Mathematics. He will be back for his final season later this fall and hopefully get a shot at the next level. His music will travel with him wherever he goes.
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