Kick returner KaVontae Turpin reset his priorities well enough to earn another chance at football in the fall, TCU coach Gary Patterson said Tuesday during a conference call with reporters.
“He needs to understand you’re not entitled to play this game,” Patterson said. “It’s a great opportunity. If he wants to be able to do that, he has to treat everybody and his teammates like a team comes first and family comes first and not him.”
Patterson announced on March 3 when the Horned Frogs opened spring practice that Turpin would be held out so he could “get where he needs to get academically and do some other things.”
A month later, Patterson said Turpin had returned to practice, and he participated in the spring game on April 8.
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What he has to understand is, you can’t go back in that direction.
TCU coach Gary Patterson, on KaVontae Turpin overcoming off-the-field issues
“He was out of shape,” Patterson said. “He’s not completely done. The key for him is, his problems, his situation — he got himself into. So what he has to understand is, you can’t go back in that direction. There’s two people you never want to try to embarrass, the name on the back of the jersey, which is your family, and the name on the front of your jersey, which is your university. You come third. In both cases, we did that.”
Turpin missed five games after suffering a knee injury in September against Iowa State. He averaged 28.4 yards on kickoff returns and 12.5 in punt returns and finished with 30 catches. The junior from Monroe, La., returned a punt for a touchdown in each of his first two seasons, earning Freshman All-American notice from the Football Writers Association of America.
Patterson consistently praised Turpin’s personality as a freshman and sophomore.
In the conference call Tuesday, Patterson said Turpin gave himself a chance to come back to football by putting others first.
“He did a good job of that in spring,” Patterson said. “If he continues to do that, he’ll have an opportunity to wear purple and black.”