Juggling recruiters, footballs and offseason

Lincoln High’s Tommy Turner
By: Aaron Day for The News Messenger
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Although it would be natural for any high school quarterback to feel the pressure of preparing for the fall campaign, Lincoln High’s Tommy Turner is approaching it as just another offseason.

However, Turner has gone from a promising varsity player to a Division I-caliber prospect in less than a year. That’s what can happen when one is 6-foot-5-inches tall and can throw the football 60 yards with minimal effort.

Turner led the Fighting Zebras to an 8-3 overall record (4-1 in the Pioneer Valley League) in 2017, with their only league loss to Division IV-AA state runner-up Placer.

Lincoln met Division II powerhouse Del Oro in the first round of the playoffs and nearly pulled off the biggest win in the program’s history. Turner scored both of Lincoln’s touchdowns (one passing and one rushing) in the second half, but a 53-yard field goal as time expired gave the Golden Eagles a come-from-behind 16-14 victory.

Turner finished the season with 2,465 passing yards and 30 touchdowns; after that, the offseason began.

This offseason has included making the Sacramento Bee All-Metro football team, receiving his first Division I football offer from Howard University and throwing footballs at the Nike-sponsored Elite 11 regionals. Turner had college recruiters from more than 20 different universities, UCLA to Harvard, visit and watch him throw during practice – but again – what pressure?

“I don’t feel more pressure now that I am viewed as a Division I-caliber quarterback,” said Turner. “Right now, my biggest focus is to continue building a strong bond with my teammates, perfecting my craft as a quarterback, putting on weight, staying in shape and keeping my [GPA] up above a 3.5.”

While many schools have visited Turner this offseason, only one has made an offer so far. He has taken unofficial visits to California State University, Fresno, CSU Sacramento and the University of California, Davis.

“The recruiting process for me has been a little slow offer-wise, but I know they will come eventually and I will enjoy wherever I end up,” said Turner.

Turner will also visit the University of Wyoming, a program that has seriously recruited him for an unofficial visit and to throw in their annual football camp June 1-2. Wyoming heavily recruits in Northern California and recently had their starting quarterback, Josh Allen out of the Fresno area, drafted seventh in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft.

After the Wyoming camp, it’s back to business.

Lincoln opens the season against Oak Ridge of the Sierra Foothill League. Turner, along with Lincoln football, wants to make a statement to the area in 2018.

“...[A]s a team, I think we all want to win games and show this area that last year wasn’t a fluke,” said Turner. “We are legitimate competitors.”