Could the San Francisco 49ers be far from finished in adding to the wide receiver room?
More specifically, could the team add a draft prospect who’s earned the label “wide back,” the position that Deebo Samuel popularized last season?
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Per KHON Honolulu sports director Rob DeMello, the 49ers have invited University of Hawai’i star Calvin Turner Jr. to try out for the team at its rookie minicamp. Turner also received an invitation from the Baltimore Ravens.
“Former University of Hawai’i all-purpose star Calvin Turner Jr. has accepted rookie mini-camp invites from Ravens & 49ers. Baltimore camp is first starting May 6-8,” DeMello tweeted on May 1.
For a team that drafted Danny Gray in the third round out of Southern Methodist, then added Davontavean “Tay” Martin from Oklahoma State and Taysir Mack of Pittsburgh through undrafted free agency, the 49ers have shown interest in continuing to add to their wide receiver room.
Turner Brought Explosive Dynamics on the Island
Turner was part of a solid group of Mountain West Conference draft options, including Khalil Shakir of Boise State (who also delivered versatility) and Romeo Doubs of Nevada.
According to an April 28 tweet by Ben Linsey of Pro Football Focus, Turner was second among receivers in the 2022 draft class in missed tackles forced with 25. Only Skyy Moore, who starred for Western Michigan, had more than Turner.
At 5-foot-11 and 195 pounds, Turner amassed 2,069 yards from scrimmage and scored 22 touchdowns as a receiver and rusher in his two seasons at Hawai’i. Turner gained 647 rushing yards on 133 carries and scored 12 rushing scores, then added 106 receptions for 1,422 yards and 10 more touchdowns. During his last collegiate season, he matched the number of carries (73) with his receptions. He also contributed on special teams, averaging 24.4 yards per kick return and scoring a touchdown.
The ‘Wide Back’ Elements He Brings
Several plays during his two seasons with the Rainbows illustrated Turner’s similarity to Samuel.
To shine a light on Turner’s ability to force missed tackles, this play versus Portland State in September 2021 is a perfect example.
In November 2020, in a game against Boise State, Turner provided another highlight in which he forced the defense to miss tackles (not to mention he showed excellent balance and deft footwork as ran along the sideline).
During that same season, facing Houston in the New Mexico Bowl, he showed off his versatility on kick returns.
When lined up as a wide receiver, he gave Hawai’i a solid red-zone option, shown here versus a nationally ranked Fresno State team in 2021:
In September 2021, he earned the “wide back” label on a goal-line play against San Jose State.
And again on a direct snap, this time against Boise State.
Turner had been projected as a seventh-round pick, according to a Heavy on 49ers mock-draft story published April 24. Now, he has the opportunity to potentially add another “wide back” to Kyle Shanahan’s offense.