'The Conductor' Kobie Turner talks musical background, 2023 NFL Draft in interview
By Justin Fried
The NY Jets could be in the market for defensive tackle help in the 2023 NFL Draft, and one player they could look to target is Wake Forest's Kobie Turner.
Turner has one of the most interesting backgrounds of any prospect in this year's class, which is why it was an honor to sit down with the Virginia native to discuss his football journey and the upcoming 2023 NFL Draft.
From a no-star recruit coming out of high school to a legitimate NFL prospect, Turner's path to the NFL has been unconventional. Now, the former Richmond standout is on the NFL's doorstep as a projected mid-round prospect in this year's draft.
There's so much more to Kobie Turner than his football success, however. His nickname, "The Conductor," is evidence of that.
Below is only a partial transcription of our interview with Kobie. To watch the interview in its entirety, be sure to click here and subscribe to our YouTube channel so you don't miss out on any additional content.
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The pre-draft process
Justin Fried: "How has the whole pre-draft process been for you? What's this experience been like?"
Kobie Turner: "It's crazy to think that [this is] the dream I've had since I was a little kid. In first grade, I remember telling everyone when they asked you what you want to be, 'I want to be an NFL player.' As each day passes, it's another step closer to reaching that dream. It's been really good, man. I've just been staying in shape and just making sure I'm ready to take full advantage of whatever opportunity comes my way."
Kobie Turner's musical background
JF: "So I want to talk a little bit about your background and your football journey, but I feel like everyone watching this has to know one thing first, and that's that you’re an incredibly talented and gifted musician. Can you talk to me about your musical background and how you got started with it?
KT: "Music has been in my life for the entirety of my life. My mom was always a part of the church worship team, so I would go with her all the time for practices. That was my first outlet into the music world. Then my oldest brother started getting into music, playing guitar a little bit, and I looked up to him a lot. I started playing some guitar. I took a couple of piano lessons as a kid. As I grew up, music became more and more a part of my life. Music and football were the two ways I was able to get through high school. I took a lot of time in high school and college to continue to explore that music side, whether that be participating in multiple choirs or leading multiple a capella groups at the same time, or composing my own music. That was one of my proudest moments — being able to compose some music and have my college choir sing it. On another note, in 2019, one of my teammates at Richmond, Gus Lee, died by suicide. It was a very hard time for the team and everybody, but the moment that I remember the most was the choir I was in was asked to sing at his memorial service. That was a very solemn moment. I was able to keep his memory alive through music. There's so much more to us as football players, but my music side is definitely a huge part of me. I"m just grateful to have another side of me that can go hand in hand with that football side."
Kobie Turner: The Conductor
JF: "Your love of music is one of the reasons you earned the nickname 'The Conductor' in college. Tell me a little about how that nickname came to be and what it means to you."
KT: "It happened during the week in between games. People were playing music in the locker room after practice, and I just started conducting. Someone was like 'Yo, that would be a tough celebration.' So that next week, we were playing Albany and I got a sack, and then I started doing that. The next week, I actually tried to draw the Disney logo, but the announcers were like 'The Conductor, conducting again,' or something like that. So I was like, 'Okay, I'll rock with this.' It's stuck with me since then. It's really cool to have those two sides of my life connect when I have a big play. Love the nickname, and I think it's pretty straight-on as to who I am."
Why Kobie Turner originally committed to Richmond
JF: "You weren’t a super highly recruited player coming out of high school, and you ended up walking on at Richmond. How did that end up coming about? Why did you choose Richmond?"
KT: "There were a couple of D-III schools that had offered me some financial packages, and really it came down to, I could choose a D-III school, graduate after four years and keep going, or I could choose Richmond, and I had one year to earn a scholarship. Otherwise, I would've been at a community college. I chose to bet on myself in that situation. I felt as if that was where I belonged. I knew I could play there. For a lot of guys, that freshman year is figuring out the social scene. That's where you get a lot of drunken nights. But I didn't have that liberty. I still figured out my way. I joined an a capella group, but I wasn't able to pursue all of the endeavors that I wanted to. I wasn't able to join the choir or anything like that because I only had one year to make it happen. From the second I stepped on the field, there was a certain focus that allowed me to play with an all-out effort. That was instilled in me at a young age, and that helped me earn that scholarship."
Participating in the East-West Shrine Bowl
JF: "You had the opportunity to participate in the Shrine Bowl this year? How was that? What was that like for you?"
KT: "It was awesome. It was really cool to work with the Falcons' staff — an all-around great experience. Just being able to go out there and compete. That's what football is all about. A lot of the stuff in the pre-draft process is all about drills and all of these little things that can correlate to football, but they aren't football. So to be able to have that last opportunity to show that I am a football player and this is how I do it, it was a great experience for me."
Meeting with NFL teams
JF: "Are there any teams showing a little more interest than others? If not, what teams have you met with in an official capacity?"
KT: "I've met with the Rams — had a Zoom with them and had a 30 with them. I've met with the Commanders. I was supposed to meet with Baltimore, and I'm currently setting up a meeting with Carolina. Other coaches have called me as well, like Cleveland. There have been other teams talking to my agent, and my coaches have let me know that certain [NFL] coaches have stopped by the building or called up about me."
Getting to know Kobie Turner
JF: "What are some of your favorite hobbies outside of football and outside of music?"
KT: "Rocket League. I'm pretty solid at Rocket League. I peaked at Grand Champ 1, so we're going to beat that peak in a little bit. That definitely takes up a lot of my time. Between that and hanging with my friends, family, and girlfriend, that's kind of what I do."
JF: "Now, this is my favorite question and I’m really excited to hear your answer to this. What is your go-to karaoke song?"
KT: "I'll give you a couple. 'River' by Leon Bridges is pretty solid. 'A Change Is Gonna Come' is pretty solid. You can never go wrong with some Michael Jackson, but he's a little hard to do."