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Hawaii Athlete of the Year

By Lance Tominaga, ESPN Honolulu Web Editor.

In a year when we were all forced to make the best of a bad situation, no Hawaii athlete exemplified this more than University of Hawaii all-purpose back Calvin Turner.

Turner faced a challenge before 2020 even began. In December of last year, Jacksonville University, an FCS school in Florida, announced that it was ending its football program. Turner was a three-year all-conference standout for the Dolphins, playing both quarterback and defensive back. He made the 4,000-mile trip to start a new chapter in his football life, at UH-Manoa.

Then the pandemic hit, and Hawaii’s spring practice was canceled. Soon it became clear that the 2020 college football season itself was in doubt.

When the season did get underway, Turner made his presence known right away, scoring two TDs in Hawaii’s opening win over Fresno State. Showing his versatility, the Savannah, Georgia native lined up at running back, receiver and wildcat QB.

And he was just getting started.

In the abbreviated 2020 campaign, Turner would finish with 1,201 total all-purpose yards: 331 rushing yards (5.5 yards per carry); 546 receiving yards (16.6 yards per reception); and 324 yards on kickoff returns (27.0 avg.). He scored 11 total TDs: 4 rushing, 6 receiving and 1 via kickoff return.

Turner saved his best for last. In Hawaii’s 28-14 win over Houston in the New Mexico Bowl, he had a 75-yard TD reception in the first quarter and a 92-yard kickoff return for another TD in the third quarter to seal the victory. Turner finished the game with 252 all-purpose yards and was named the contest’s Offensive MVP.

Although he is a senior, Turner is eligible to play another season at UH. Will he? Time will tell. In the meantime, Rainbow Warrior fans won’t soon forget Turner’s remarkable season.

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