The Cowboys hope KaVontae Turpin will have a ‘Devin Hester Effect’
The entire NFL community had its eyes on new kick returner KaVontae Turpin in the Dallas Cowboys’ second preseason game against the Los Angeles Chargers. The former USFL MVP had two return touchdowns, one off a kickoff and the other from a punt return. Both were highly impressive. So impressive that the league’s social media accounts changed their banner photos to a picture of Turpin taking it to the house.
But Cowboys special teams coach John Fassel claims he’s had his eyes on Turpin for many years. Fassel said he watched every single one of Turpin’s returns in college at TCU. With the Horned Frogs, Turpin had six return touchdowns averaging 28 yards per kick return.
Dallas is obviously excited to have the 26-year-old on the team, but Fassel joked that he’s mad that the former Horned Frog is no longer a “best-kept secret.”
"“I was kinda hoping that the secret wouldn’t get out, but obviously the Chargers game changed that. You sign a guy in the middle of training camp, I don’t know maybe if I was just hoping that there was going to be a secret with him. Maybe there wouldn’t have been. The secret’s out, and I think he’s going to be really good.”"
Now, the team has faith that the speedy returner has the ability to score anytime the ball is in his hands. Fassel hopes the NFL rookie can bring the “Devin Hester Effect” to Dallas.
Cowboys special teams coach John Fassel hopes KaVontae Turpin can bring ‘Devin Hester Effect’ to Dallas
Devin Hester was a wide receiver primarily for the Chicago Bears known for his kick-returning ability. Hester played for ten years in the league and notched four Pro Bowl appearances and three All-Pro nods. Here’s a list of his accomplishments as a returner:
- Led the NFL in total punt return yards twice
- Led the NFL in total kick return yards twice
- Led the league in punt return touchdowns in 2006 (3), 2010 (3), and 2007 (4)
- Led or tied for most kick return touchdowns twice
Those are big shoes to fill for Turpin, but given that he is finally getting his shot to compete in the NFL, the former USFL player isn’t going to throw away this opportunity. He even predicted he’d lead the NFL in these categories if given a chance far before the Cowboys ever called him.
Fassel may be worried that teams have Turpin’s number now, but that gives blockers even more of a drive to do their job well. With Hester, blockers knew they had a returner who could score every time he got the ball if given a fair chance. The Dallas coach thinks the excitement of Turpin will give his special teams players a bit more motivation to get major blocks on returns.
Comparing Turpin to Hester after one great performance in the preseason doesn’t feel fair. It might even be naive. But there is no denying that this coaching staff sees something really special in their new NFL rookie.