Last year, former TCU wide receiver KaVontae Turpin was in the USFL trying to prove himself as a worthy WR and kick returner. He was hoping to earn a chance to play in the NFL, and that’s exactly what he did.
Turpin led the USFL in receiving yards and was even named MVP of the league. The 26-year-old had 540 receiving yards, 316 yards after the catch, and the USFL’s only kick return for a touchdown.
The performance certainly caught the attention of the Dallas Cowboys as the receiver revealed they were the only team to reach out to him after his MVP season. Dallas needed WR help and someone to take care of kick and punt returns with Tony Pollard and CeeDee Lamb getting much more involved in the offense.
So, Turpin was brought in for a workout, and the 5-9, 155-pound player proved himself to be small but mighty. The former USFL MVP earned himself a three-year contract with Dallas.
Ever since then, coaches and reporters have been impressed by his speed, agility, and capability.
Former USFL MVP KaVontae Turpin continues to impress the Dallas Cowboys
Turpin knew that his versatility would be valuable to the team. This is what he told the press when he was first brought in:
"“I feel like [me being here] gives them a chance to put more plays in the playbook – just [designed] around me. With me doing whatever they need me to do … I feel like that opens up the playbook with the offense with Dak [Prescott], Zeke [Elliott] and CeeDee [Lamb] because when I’m in motion the [defense] has to keep an eye on me. It just opens up the playbook.”"
When Cowboys special teams coach John Fassel was asked about his new punt and kick returner, the coach said he has “huge aspirations” for Turpin.
The more he shows off and catches eyes in practice the more confident he gets.
Even though many are counting on Turpin for his special teams work, Wednesday’s joint practice against the Chargers was perhaps his best showing of camp as a receiver so far. Turpin helped convert a fourth down with an over-the-shoulder sideline catch from Cooper Rush. He was also being double-covered by the Chargers and managed to keep both feet in bounds.
The 26-year-old knows he can play special teams, but he also wants to prove he can be an asset in the passing game.
"“I’m a receiver. That’s what I do. Special teams – I can do that in my sleep. I’m trying to show the NFL that I can play receiver at this level, too.”"
But it was his special teams play that got him big-time recognition in Saturday’s preseason game against the Chargers. Turpin wasn’t given much of a chance to show off during the first game against the Broncos, but he made the best of every opportunity he got in Los Angeles.
Turpin showed off his quickness by bringing home not one, but two kick returns for touchdowns. The first was a kickoff return for 98 yards and it looks like the returner’s legs are going in fast forward.
The second was an 86-yard punt return where several Chargers had a chance to make tackles, but Turpin proved to be too elusive. It was quite the night for the former USFL player, who quite possibly inked himself a spot on the 53-man roster in one preseason game alone.
It certainly seems like the Cowboys plan on prioritizing his skill on special teams, but with the current state of the WR group, he may just get some plays written up in Kellen Moore’s playbook while the team is without Michael Gallup and James Washington.