The Big Stage
Oct. 7, 2010
By Kyle Johnson, Assistant Director of Athletics Media Relations
When he arrived at Indiana University for the 2006 spring semester, Terrence Turner was a quiet, somewhat timid freshman. Now a fifth-year senior, Turner has developed into an outgoing, vocal leader. He is not afraid to step up and speak in front of teammates, or a group of complete strangers for that matter.
Turner is a star receiver on a Big Ten football team. He is a leader on and off the field, filling an important veteran role for a very talented position group. But Turner is also a budding star on the stage and screen, playing varied roles in plays and movies. A theatre and drama major, Turner has starred in two stage plays, two short films and several small productions since he arrived in Bloomington.
Adrian Burks, one of Turner's closest friends on the team, also arrived at IU in 2006. He said Turner has changed quite a bit over the past five years.
"I think he is a little more goofy now and he is more open with it," said Burks. "At first he was more reserved and quiet and just had an inside group that he talked to. Now he is open with everybody. He is a goofy kid, and he keeps everyone laughing, especially at the hardest times in a practice."
While Turner may have mastered the comedic role on the football team, he can also play the lead in more serious situations. Wide receivers coach Billy Lynch has stressed the importance of Turner's leadership to the development of the position group into one of the deepest and most productive in the Big Ten and college football.
"I think he is one of the best leaders I have ever been around," said Lynch. "Some leaders lead by doing, others by saying. I always feel the best have a combination of both and that's what I feel he has. You just watch him work, whether it be in the fall, winter or summer, it doesn't matter. He leads by example. He has a very good way with those other guys of saying what needs to be said and not saying stuff when it doesn't need to be said. He has a very good feel and knack for leading people. I think he is tremendous."
Turner says his growth from a timid freshman into his current role on the team was a natural move for him.
"It's a little more maturity, a bigger role has something to do with it," said Turner. "But our coaches look for leaders, and I've always thought of myself as a leader on and off the field, so it was an easy adjustment, easy to transform into that leadership role."
The Elusive Touchdown
His first trip to the end zone seemed to be a shoe-in for 2008's play of the season. With the ball at Indiana's three-yard line, Ben Chappell took the snap on third-and-8. He hit a streaking Turner for a 97-yard score, but the celebration didn't last long. A flag in the end zone for holding turned a Hoosier TD into a Michigan State safety.
In 2009, Turner had two more close calls at Iowa. With 18 seconds to go in the second quarter, Chappell hit Turner in the corner of the end zone from the nine yard line. Initially called incomplete, replays showed what appeared to be Turner in possession of the ball in the foot down in bounds. A booth review upheld the call on the field, and the Hoosiers scored on the next play.
In the same game, Turner reeled in an 11-yard touchdown on a third-and-6. Similar to the route he ran earlier in the game, Chappell hit Turner in the left side of the end zone, where the junior dragged his foot for the score right in front of the side judge for what was signaled a TD. Again, the booth review came down, with this call getting overturned and six points coming off the scoreboard.
Turner finally broke into the touchdown ranks when he caught a six-yard score from Chappell against Wisconsin. Much to his delight there were no flags, booth reviews or anything else of that nature, but his attention at that moment was on finishing a comeback that finished just three points short of knocking off the Badgers.
"I was excited when it happened, but I wasn't as excited as I thought I would be," said Turner. "It felt good to get it out of the way, to get the monkey off my back like they say. Just being able to get it was a good feeling, but we still had another quarter to play, so it wasn't really something I could cheer too much. But looking back on it, I'm glad it happened."
Life on Stage
"I've always been interested in acting, I got a lot more into it when I came to school here," said Turner. "I figured, football is giving me a chance to get a degree, get a good education, so I may as well get into something that I'd be interested in for the future."
"He approaches acting much like he approaches football," said Burks, who has appeared in on-campus plays with Turner. "Studies what he needs to do, gets everything memorized and goes over it to make sure he does the best job that he can for the team and for the cast. He is exactly the same in both environments."
Acting in a production of any sort, no matter how small, is a major time commitment. When combined with football practice, weightlifting, position meetings, team meetings, study sessions and the other commitments an IU student-athlete must face, balancing being an actor and an athlete can be quite the burden.
Burks says balancing two big commitments is definitely a difficult task, but ultimately one that is worth the effort.
"It definitely is tough to find the time in the day, anytime that you do something that requires that much time. Especially with football, my favorite sport and something that I love to do. Acting is also something that I love to do and both of them are time consuming. They're definitely both demanding and we make it work because we love them both."
Turner says it is all just a matter of planning and time management.
"You develop, or you should be able to develop a good job of time management. So, it is really just knowing how much time something's going to take and fitting it into your schedule. So it's really not too tough."
His Most Important Role to Date
"Off the field, I think my role is keeping the guys together," said Turner. "Kind of being a liason between the coaches and the younger players especially. Trying to enforce things, just getting along with the guys. Keeping their spirits up, keeping them motivated, enthusiastic, energized. Off the field, it's just keeping guys up, keeping their heads up, and keeping everything positive as much as I can."
"On the field, it's something similar to that. Just be a leader. I play a lot more inside than I do outside, but I'm versatile, I can do both. It's just playing whatever spot Coach needs me to, making plays when they come, and just being that leader for the wide receiver group."
What Lies Ahead
"Hopefully my life after football will be in acting. It's something I love, it's something that I've gotten better at as the years go on. Hopefully football can be an avenue, but that's something I'd definitely like to do in the future.
"I have a couple of friends out in California, and I'm working on some more connections out there. When the time comes, I'll just work through that process. It's a battle and a lot of people want to do it, but you've got to start somewhere."
For Turner, that somewhere was Bloomington, Indiana. It was at Indiana University where he got his start in acting. It was on the football field where he grew from a timid freshman into an outgoing senior leader.
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