Golden Valley alumnus DJ Turner was the captain of his football team and an important player on both sides of the ball. Turner transferred from Sylmar high school to Golden Valley in his junior year. Even though it was his first year with the team he fit right in both on and off the field. As a newcomer he feared the transition would be a difficult one,however he found that to be the opposite.
“The team welcomed me and the environment created by the coaching staff was fantastic,” said Turner.
Head coach Dan Kelley expected Turner to be a great addition to the program with his athleticism and his potential. He would help lead the team to their first ever playoff appearance as the Grizzlies advanced all the way to the semi-finals. The Grizzlies lost to eventual champion San Gorgonio 39-35.
The next season Turner lead the grizzlies to the 2017-18 division 6 CIF championship game where they fell short to the Bishop Diego Cardinals. Over his career at Golden Valley, Turner rushed for just under 1,000 yards and eight touchdowns. He also tallied 83 tackles on defense to go with 10 sacks and 16 tackles for loss.
After his senior season looking to continue his career on the gridiron he was very interested in becoming a Cal Poly Mustang, however the offer was reduced to 50 percent due to a poor grade in his calculus class. He knew he could get better offers, so he chose to go the junior college route.
Coach Kelley knew whatever Turner did he would be successful. “[Turner] works hard on the field and in the weight room. He always gives it his all whenever he’s in pads and that would encourage his teammates to play their hardest,” said coach Kelley.
Turner would soon decide to play at Moorpark Junior College. He loved not only the location of the school but the coaching staff as well. Until then, Turner would join the Golden Valley basketball team to stay in shape.
He would take trips out to Moorpark during spring ball so he could secure his position. He worked on his pass drops and other fundamentals because this would be his first year playing linebacker full-time instead of alternating between offense and defense. Turner moved on to the next level of football and played linebacker at Moorpark Community College.
Although he was only a freshman he made an impact on the defense with a total of 67 tackles, 11 of those being tackles for loss along with an interception. Only one person on the team acquired more tackles than Turner.
After the season finished he had visits with different coaches everyday. One day, John Allen from Old Dominion University in Virginia came in to talk to Turner. Turner was immediately interested. “I’ve always wanted to play at the next level and this was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up,” said Turner.
For Turner, this is a life-changer because he will no longer have to wake up at 3 a.m. to unload trucks and stock shelves to pay for rent. “All that changes now at the D1. They feed you, and clothe you so now I can really focus on perfecting my game as well as my academics,” Turner said.
His message to anyone who wants to play any Division I sport is that it doesn’t come easy you truly have to work hard, and it’s not just about on the field. Grades play a huge if not bigger role in the recruitment process.
The Grizzly community is proud of the accomplishments of Turner and is looking for big things in his football future.