Question: For those not familiar, what does Dakota Turner bring to the football field?
I bring a work ethic not seen in most high school players; I’m totally committed to being the best player I can be and I train at the highest level to reach that goal. I spend more time in the gym and on the track than anyone I know and I work during my free time with my position coaches and trainers on improving my fundamentals. I play hard every down, I’m a leader and I’m committed to my teammates on and off the field.
Question: Which area(s) of your game are you looking to improve/refine?
I know I’m going to get bigger and stronger with the time I put into the gym and my natural growth so I focus my attention most on speed. I’ve spent the past year working with the best speed and quickness coach in my state, it’s paid off and I just want to keep getting faster. I have great strength and conditioning coaches here in Hawaii and I’m sure once I get to SDSU, Coach Hall (Strength and Conditioning Coach Adam Hall) will help me continue to get faster and stronger.
Question: Is there an NFL Defensive End or Linebacker after whom you pattern your game? If “yes”, why?
Plenty of guys like Trent Cole for his get off, the way Clay Matthews fills gaps and shuts down the run, Travis LaBoy’s intense work ethic off the field, Ray Lewis’ leadership and tenacity. I try to take pieces from all of them and work it into my game.
Question: What separates you from the average defensive player?
I played every position growing up, I was a good QB and I’m still a good TE and FB. My knowledge of how the game is played on the other side of the ball really helps me. I know what that offense is thinking because I was there once and it gives me that extra half second of jump on them that lets me break up their play. I’d also say that working as a receiver this year with my OC, Timmy Chang, has made me appreciate the value of the time watching game tape and how that’s made me a much better player. I don’t think many defensive players in high school spend as much time watching tape or understand the importance of it like I do.
Question: There’s talk you may play Defensive End or Linebacker for Rocky Long and the Aztecs. Which position would you prefer, and why?
I don’t think it really matters to me, just depends on how my body continues to grow and where the team needs me, I like both positions. I like the way the OLB does a lot of the traditional DE work in Coach Long’s defense but if I get too big then I don’t mind putting my hand down on the line. I hope they consider using me occasionally on the offensive side of the ball as well. I have really good hands and I’m a hard guy to bring down.
Question: What ultimately motivated your decision to commit to SDSU?
There were a lot of factors but number one would be the coaches. I’ve met a lot of great coaches during this recruiting process but was especially impressed with Coach Long, McGarry, Lewis, Ulafanua, Hall and the others I’ve spoken with at SDSU. I see myself fitting in very well with their program. I love SDSU’s business programs and especially the city of San Diego. I’m a Marine kid and I’ve moved around my whole life but two of my favorite places have always been Hawaii and San Diego. I have some family and many old family friends in San Diego and with Camp Pendleton and Miramar nearby I know a lot of Marines who will be coming to watch me play.
Question: What, if anything, during or about the recruiting process surprised or impressed you? Did anything during the process bother or disappoint you?
I was most impressed by the way the coaches at SDSU were up front and honest. SDSU coaches didn’t sugar coat anything or drag their decision on and on. The thing that bothered me the most was how difficult it is for guys in Hawaii to get noticed; really hard for us to fly out to the mainland to be seen and a lot of my friends couldn’t afford to do it. I’m blessed that I had the opportunity to come out and let the SDSU coaches see me play. There are still a lot of great players in Hawaii not being noticed.
Question: Any individual/team goals for your final High school season?
Of course we want to win the state championship and I don’t think that’s out of our reach. To get there I’m going to focus on ensuring our team comes together as a solid unit. We have a few standout players but I think our victories will come from our ability to work as a unit with everyone being a role player. My Coach, Rod York, is a great leader and the rising seniors have learned a lot from him and the other coaches; it’s going to pay off this season.
Question: What’s something about Dakota Turner people should know, but don’t?
I’ve lived all over, even in Asia for a while. My Dad’s a Marine so we’ve been everywhere. My Dad had to be away a lot while I was growing up and I was the oldest so I learned the importance of leadership at a young age. Some of the places we lived didn’t really have great football programs but it was always cool how some of my Dad’s Marine buddies who had college or pro experience would train me up during their free time. In Hawaii I’ve been blessed to work with some great players and coaches; they take football serious in Hawaii. I’ve had some excellent experiences in my life so far and I’m ready to continue the adventure for the next 4-5 years at SDSU.
Question: What are your long-term goals/aspirations (football and personal)?
My long-term goal for football is to help the Aztecs any way I can to win championships and earn a great reputation in the Big East. I want to learn as much as I can from the coaches and veteran athletes and do my part to build on the future of SDSU. If I’m blessed to continue playing football after college that would be great. My personal goal is to get my MBA and when football is finished and go on to be a successful entrepreneur building businesses, creating jobs and helping the community.