I guess every person, at one time or another, has fantasized about living on their own private island, alone. It’s a nice dream but for most people, dreamers, it’s just fantasy. However, there is one brave soul, a grounded dreamer, that every Saturday, survives and thrives on his island.
Nolan Turner, another Super Senior and 2020 All American, isn’t one to call much attention in his direction. He’s more comfortable out in the secondary, most times alone. However, he gets plenty of ‘visitors’ along the way. As always, he greets his visitors and most times, makes a lasting, sometimes painful impression. Few have ever played with more spirit and drive.
To date, Turner has 247 tackles (12.5 for loss), 19 passes broken up, seven interceptions, two sacks and a forced fumble in 2,046 snaps over 63 career games (23 starts).
This stellar young man from Vestavia Hills, Alabama has given the Clemson Family a lot to be proud of, a lot to cheer for, but perhaps the loudest cheer should be for his courage in facing the death of his father, former Alabama teammate of Dabo Swinney and NFL veteran, Kevin Turner.
Sadly, Turner lost his battle with ALS, but not before he led his son to Swinney and Clemson. This program is so indebted to this young man for his leadership, his unwavering commitment and his always positive attitude. He’s had his moments in contributing to Clemson’s run at greatness.
Who can forget in the 2019 game against Ohio State in the College Football Playoff. After getting beat and giving up a score, Turner came to the sidelines a little glum. Then Swinney grabbed his helment and said, (and I’m paraphrasing here), ‘let that one go, you’re going to get another chance.’ And so he did. Later, as Ohio State quickly and methodically moved towards a go ahead touchdown, there on his island, Turner played it perfectly. He had fulfilled Swinney’s prophecy. He snagged the game winning interception that led the Tigers to yet another berth in the CFB Championship.
There have been many similar heroics by Turner over the years, but one would have to guess that play in particular, was a sweet time to be on his island. As his time on the field draws to a close, I’m sure he must look back and feel it’s been a well lived, well played career. And that island, his island will always be his happy place.
As a fan and interested observer, few players have been more of a pleasure to watch develop than Turner. No matter the circumstances or the score one thing was always clear, he owned his island and that’s just the way it was, and for that we say thanks.
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