When Tre Turner burst onto the scene as a true freshman last season, it didn't take long for him to start turning heads. Now with some experience under his belt, he's poised to have an even bigger sophomore campaign.
"Tre (Turner) is a guy that has some natural feel for the game," said the Hokies' new wide receivers coach Jafar Williams. "He lets the game come to him."
Last season, it didn't take long for the game to come to Turner. In just five starts, he racked up 535 receiving yards and 4 TD grabs while averaging 20.6 yards per reception, a stat that went a long way in earning him the nickname "Big Play Tre."
Turner's best performances came in the Hokies' final 2 regular season games.
Against Virginia, Turner played a huge role in keeping the streak alive. His 112 all purpose yards and a crucial blocked punt kept the Hokies in a game in which they were frankly outplayed in many facets. The next week, he picked up right where he left off with a 45-yard touchdown reception against Marshall.
Even amid this success, Turner still has to deal with plenty of people who doubt his abilities. However, as Andy Bitter of The Athletic reported, Turner simply uses those doubts to motivate him on the field.
“By the time I’m done reading them, I’m just ready to play,” said Turner of the negative posts about him online.
Many people believe that Turner did not receive enough respect at this year's ACC Media Days in mid-July. Of all the Virginia Tech players left off the preseason All-ACC list (the Hokies did not have a single player make the team), Turner may have the most legitimate gripe. Yet somehow, he has not griped at all.
Turner kept it all in perspective when talking about his snubs from All-ACC teams both during the media days and in preview magazines. He's said that he does not put too much emphasis on a list that comes out before a single snap of the season is played.
Jafar Williams and other Virginia Tech coaches have been careful to note that Turner is not a finished product. He still has plenty of things to work on in fall camp, one of which is improving his route running.
"He has to not worry about going out and trying to do too much," said Williams. "Go out and do your job, the game will come to Tre Turner."
Another facet that Turner has worked on this offseason is his weight. Turner began last season listed at 6-2, 187 pounds. Due to a shoulder injury he sustained in high school, he missed a lot of time in the winter and spring leading into his freshman, usually the best time to make major weight room strides especially since he was an early enrollee.
Though Turner is only listed as 3 pounds heavier now, head coach Justin Fuente said he is pleased with the work that Turner is putting in.
“He’s made a concerted effort," said Fuente. "This summer was a good long block for him of training. You can see it in his body."
Fuente did note that Turner still has a long way to go physically but as you can see, he clearly likes the direction of his development in the weight room and on the practice field.
Even with all his success, Turner knows that the Hokies have a lot to prove as a team after what can only be called a disappointing campaign during the 2018 season. As for his part, he is ready for the challenge.
“Last year, you could tell a lot of us were complacent,” Turner said. “Now, you can see everybody has bought in and we’re all ready to win.”
Photo Credit: Harley Taylor
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