It’s roughly 2,400 miles from Nashville to Seattle – but in some ways, it seems like an even longer ride for Drew Turner.
Turner has finally returned from the West Coast and landed back to the school where he began his prep football career – Montgomery Bell Academy – a place where he is hoping to be part of a second straight state title.
Most importantly, he’s hoping to completely overcome an ankle injury, something which threatened to end his career.
Turner is the son of former Vanderbilt athletic director Todd Turner, whose family moved to three years ago to Seattle where Turner took the job as University of Washington AD. Drew will be a senior for the Big Red.
With Todd Turner’s departure from Washington, the family returned to Nashville recently where Drew enrolled – again – at MBA.
“It’s a place where I started,’’ Drew said during a break between games of the Music City Classic 7-on-7 Classic at Vanderbilt over the weekend.
“When I returned to Nashville, I had my choice of a couple schools. But I’d made my first mark at MBA, and I wanted to finish it there,’’ he said.
After playing 7-8 grade football at MBA, Turner moved with his family to the Great Northwest, following his father to his new job. He is the youngest of Todd and Sara’s four children and the only boy.
Playing for Seattle Prep, he was quarterback. He got into two games his freshman year, then began the following season as the starting QB.
He had a spectacular sophomore year, passing for 1,800 yards and 16 TDs and rushing for 400 yards and five TDs – Tim Tebow type numbers. “I led the league in passing and broke a couple of school records,’’ he said.
But his junior year turned into a nightmare.
“Just two games in, I dislocated, tore and broke my ankle and had extensive damage, and they had to operate, put several screws in place. I was out eight months. I was in a wheelchair and on crutches for three months. When I got back from that, I had developed some soreness in my shoulder, the labrum.’’
He’s starting to blossom again on his return to MBA.
“I played with a lot of these guys in the 7-8 grade, and I’ve kept up with them by phone and text messages through the years,’’ he said. “I was so happy when I found out they won state (last November). I hope we can make a little school history and win it again.’’
The 6-1, 195-pound Turner is playing mostly receiver (where he made several catches in the Big Red’s sessions in the 7-on-7 over the weekend), as well as safety.
“My goal is to play quarterback at some point (Spencer Wise is manning the position currently). But I just want to play whatever position I can, be on the field somewhere to help our team win,’’ said Turner, who indicated he wanted to sign with a college “somewhere in the Southeast.’’
All of which leaves a dad smiling proudly.
“I think I’m going to spend a lot of Fridays at MBA games and Saturdays at Vanderbilt games this fall,’’ laughed Todd Turner, who is in a consulting business in Nashville.
“More than anything, I’m proud of him for overcoming the injuries he’s had to deal with,’’ he said. “He toughed it out when others might have just given in.’’
“He’s a great kid, terrific with his teammates, totally positive and is comfortable with whatever position we put him in,’’ said coach Daniel McGugin. “He can played DB, receiver or quarterback and play them all well.’’
With a change of scenery, Drew just hopes the injury bug will disappear.