The Recruiting Guy

Fayetteville's Kaiden Turner grew up with football

Fayetteville linebacker Kaiden Turner (9) gets ready to lead his teammates onto the field prior to a game against Fort Smith Southside on Friday, Oct. 9, 2020, in Fayetteville.

From the time he was born, Fayetteville junior linebacker Kaiden Turner was wired to play football.

“Obviously I don’t remember this, but my parents told me my first word was ball,” said Turner, who started playing football in kindergarten. “Right when I was born, they handed me a football and I just held it.”

Turner’s love of the game and talent have earned him scholarship offers from the University of Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Kansas State, Houston and Arkansas State University.

Once his playing days are over, Turner plans to coach.

“My main goal is to get to the league, but if that doesn’t pan out, I’ll coach because I want to do anything that has to do with football,” Turner said. “That’s just my love.”

Turner, 6-1, 210 pounds, recorded 69 tackles, 6 sacks, a forced fumble, 3 interceptions and 1 returned for a score this season for the Bulldogs. He also had three rushing touchdowns of offense.

The camaraderie with his teammates and his ability to take out any frustration on the field fuel his love of the game.

“You get to let out anything that’s held in your body,” Turner said, “If you ever have any built-in anger, you get to take it out. You can do anything you want and it’s basically legal on the football field.”

Turner recorded 87 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, 9 quarterback hurries, 2 forced fumbles and 2 pass breakups as a sophomore.

His natural instincts have been aided by his father, Joe, and coaches.

“My dad has helped coach me my whole life,” Turner said. “My dad was a super stud linebacker in high school, so I just soaked in all of his knowledge and any other knowledge that any coach has given me. I feel like I’m a really coachable kid, so I took it all.”

The Hogs offered Turner on July 21. He has bonded with Razorbacks linebackers coach Rion Rhoades.

“Me and Coach Rhoades talk a lot,” Turner said. “It’s like we’ve known each other for a long time. We communicate very well. I love talking to Coach Rhoades as much as I can.”

He and junior teammate and receiver Isaiah Sategna are two of nine in-state 2022 prospects with offers from the Hogs.

Turner played basketball every year since the first grade before skipping the sport as a sophomore. He expects to play forward this season for the Bulldogs.

“I’ll do the same thing I do on the football field. I just go out there and bring energy,” Turner said. “I’m like the energizer bunny.”

He started the football season weighing about 218 pounds but has dropped some weight.

“I’m like 210. I’m expecting to lose more because of basketball,” he said. “I’ll be running a ton.”

Turner believes Washington State could be the next school to offer him, and a Big Ten school is showing interest.

“I’ve been talking to Nebraska since the summer,” Turner said.

The NCAA put in place a dead period on March 13 because of the coronavirus pandemic that forbids prospects from having face-to-face contact with coaches on or off campus. It was recently extended until April 15.

With the recent announcements of promising vaccines, Turner and other recruits are hopeful to see the dead period lifted after April.

“I feel like meeting the coaches in person is a direct reflection of how they are,” Turner said. “They can probably switch up their personality a little bit over the phone, but if you meet them in person you’re going to find out who they really are, so that’s a big thing for me.”

His college decision will come after consultation with his family.

“I’m talking it over with my family and praying about it all the time,” Turner said. “Whenever I feel like it’s the right time to make a decision, that’s when I’m going to do it.”

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