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Meet the Mustangs: Anders Turner, Breaking With Family Tradition

Meet the Mustangs: Anders Turner, Breaking With Family Tradition

By Eric Burdick
Director of Athletics Communications

Anders Turner has a lot of football in his blood. His father, Kevin, played football at Pacific from 1975-79 and in the NFL and USFL from 1980-85 while his two brothers, Dane and Kale, both played at UC Davis.

UC Davis? Cal Poly's rival?

"I was the one that broke the tradition," said Anders. "I felt I wanted to go a different path and ended up being at the rival school. It's been a fun little rivalry between the siblings. I think right now it's 2-2 since I've been here, so I want to get the rubber match this year and have the bragging rights on them."

Anders never got the chance to play against his brothers. The only possibility was in 2015 at Davis, when Anders was a redshirt freshman at Cal Poly, but Dane did not play in his senior year at UC Davis.

"My brother had a broken foot that he battled all his career," explained Anders.

Anders did learn a few things from his father about the sport.

"He obviously was really talented, but he from the get go talked about hard work," said Anders. "He didn't really start until his senior year at Pacific. He kept his head down, waiting for his opportunity. His biggest thing was being prepared when your opportunity does come. He talked to us about never getting down and persevere in everything."

After playing as a wide receiver and free safety at Monte Vista High School in Danville, Anders opted to continue his football career at Air Force, where he played in the defensive secondary at Air Force Prep in Colorado Springs, Colo., and intercepted three passes during the 2013 season. A few months later, he was at Cal Poly, getting ready for the 2014 Spring Camp.

"I learned a lot there, but I didn't think it was the right fit for me," said Anders. "Football was great, school was great, I just didn't feel like at home there. So I decided to leave … got lucky … Cal Poly reached out to me.

"Coach (Jim) Craft and I got in contact and I didn't even think twice about coming here," Anders added. "It was the best decision I could possibly make. Things really lined up well. Definitely been a blessing for me. This is a great school."

Anders and senior fullback Joe Protheroe, both of whom graduated from high school in 2013, are the elder statesmen of the 2018 Mustang football team at age 24. Anders celebrated his 24th birthday three weeks ago.

"With all the new freshmen coming in, I think one of them was born in 2000 (actually, there are 10)," said Anders. "When I heard that, man, oooh, I felt really old. I embrace the idea of being one of the oldest players on the team, for sure. It's fun being a senior, being a leader, being a guy to look up to. Definitely a goal in mind coming into this season, I wanted to be a role model for this team. Some people call me Uncle Anders, things like that, but I like being the role model on the team."

Anders wore No. 53 during his first two seasons at Cal Poly before switching to No. 15.

"My oldest brother, Kale, was 15 in high school and my Uncle Rick, who also played at Pacific, wore 15. That's has always been something I wanted to do and got the opportunity to make the switch when Andrew Barna graduated after the 2015 season," said Anders.

Anders began the season sharing playing time with junior Jayson Lee at Will linebacker on the weak side of Cal Poly's defensive alignment. Turner has 53 tackles, including a pair of sacks, in his career as a Mustang.

"It's been an awesome experience," Anders said. "In my first year, as a redshirt, watching the team with Nick Dzubnar and Cameron Ontko, they taught me to play linebacker for sure. I have loved my experience here at Cal Poly. This program has meant so much to me, and this town and this university."

One of Anders' most memorable games as a Mustang was against Montana two years ago in Alex G. Spanos Stadium, a thrilling 42-41 Cal Poly victory. Anders produced 10 tackles, including a sack and 3.5 tackles for lost yardage, and also forced a Montana fumble.

"My first start in my sophomore year was against Montana," Anders said. "It was my birthday that day, there was a ton of family there, everything kinda fell into place. I had a good game and we won that game, which was the important part. We got that win against Montana, which was a top-10 team at the time. A very emotional game. That's a game I will never forget."

A communication studies major with just five football games remaining in his collegiate career, Anders has begun to think about his future plans.

"I'm figuring that out now," he said. "Definitely keeping my options open. Both of my brothers got into sales. They were communication majors as well and have done well. Maybe something in sports media. That will be cool. It's going to be tough leaving this game. I could be a play-by-play announcer on the radio. That would be fun to be involved like that."

A big Golden State Warriors fan, Anders has always dreamed about being general manager of the NBA team.

"That is still a goal. I know that is pretty lofty. I might have to go to law school or business school, but I am a huge Warriors fan. Maybe 20 years from now."

Photos of Anders Turner courtesy of Owen Main |