Asa Turner’s Unconventional Route to the Florida Gators

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Asa Turner’s Unconventional Route to the Florida Gators

Shortly before Jedd Fisch was introduced as the new University of Washington football coach in mid January, safety Asa Turner passed through the room set aside for the big moment, just to catch a glimpse of all of the activity.

On his way to the Husky weight room, he stuck around long enough to inform a media member he wasn’t sure whether he would play again in Montlake or not, that he had options he wanted to explore.

As it turns out, the sixth-year senior from Carlsbad, California, would turn to the SEC and Florida, where he would be reunited with Will Harris, who had recruited him to the UW and was now the Gators’ secondary coach.

“Asa Turner, 6-foot-2 and change, and I think he’s 208 [pounds], productive, good tackler, leader on the team, had a voice,” Florida coach Billy Napier said when addressing Turner’s transfer in early February in Gainesville.

What wasn’t immediately obvious was how Turner, who will be a starter for the Gators, still had eligibility remaining, what with the COVID pandemic and different provisions extending careers across college football.

As it turns out, Turner got another year by officially being reclassified as a redshirt last season — even though he appeared in seven games.

During the regular season, he entered just four UW contests, the maximum for preserving eligibility, after breaking bones in each hand. He recovered sufficiently to play in all three postseason games, which didn’t count against his total.

Husky cornerback Leroy Bryant did the same thing last season playing in just four games on the schedule to save his eligibility, before the Huskies used him in the Pac-12 title game, the Sugar Bowl and the CFP national championship game. The difference was Bryant was a true freshman.

Turner, who was a 2022 All-Pac-12 honorable-mention selection, went about it in the opposite manner. He was a five-game starter as a true freshman for the UW in 2019 for Chris Petersen’s coaching staff, sharing the safety job with then fellow freshman Cam Williams.

Interestingly enough, Williams transferred to Georgia Southern in 2022 — in order to play again for the very same Will Harris, who recruited him to the Huskies while he was there as the defensive coordinator.

For the latest UW football and basketball news, go to si.com/college/washington

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