Kobie Turner playing for the Los Angeles Rams
© Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Former Spider football and music star tackles the NFL

January 15, 2024


When Kobie Turner was a math and music major at the University of Richmond, he aspired to be a high school choir director or land a position in pro football. The Los Angeles Rams are certainly glad he chose the latter. Turner, a defensive tackle, led the team in sacks in his rookie year.  

Turner’s stellar play and his unusual path to the NFL led to a profile last week in The Wall Street Journal, which described him as a fan favorite: “the rookie defensive tackle who strikes fear into opposing quarterbacks” and a hidden gem — he was drafted in the third round — “who celebrates big plays by waving his arms like an orchestra conductor.” 

Turner grew up in Clifton, Virginia, and his talents on the field and in front of a crowd were noted early on. While starting as a walk-on for the Spiders football team, he also sang baritone for the Department of Music’s Schola Cantorum.

Kobie Turner was a three-time All-Colonial Athletic Association selection, including two-straight First Team All-CAA honors while at UR.

Speaking to the Journal, Turner recalled a performance following a Homecoming game where his football responsibilities made it slightly harder to excel at a concert with his a capella group at Cannon Memorial Chapel.

“A little bit less voice than I would have wanted,” Turner said. “You’re obviously screaming at a football game.”

Although his two passions seemed like opposite aspects of his life, Turner and his university mentors recognized they complemented each other perfectly.

“Both music and athletics require a huge, daily commitment,” said music professor Jennifer Cable, Turner’s voice teacher during his time at UR, “and a work ethic that is challenged and developed each and every day.”

And while he’s currently excelling on football’s biggest stage, the Journal noted he hasn’t given up on a music career. When he hangs up his cleats, he’s still got his eye on that high school choir director gig.