SOFI DRAFT LAB – The t-shirt was perfect for the moment.
Speaking to local media after being drafted by the Rams, defensive lineman Kobie Turner wore a blue t-shirt nearly identical to the Rams' royal color, with "The Conductor" – his nickname – spelled out vertically along the left side of it in sol-like yellow along with a helmet with a musical note on it.
There was a time when Turner thought music would be his future. He told Deacons Daily's Ben Conroy last November that the difficulty deciding between music and football was part of the reason he was lightly recruited in high school, going on college visits his junior year for music scholarships and actually going to college for choir rather than football.
On Friday, the player who walked on to the University of Richmond and later grad-transferred to Wake Forest became a third-round NFL Draft pick.
Did this day seem realistic, given the way his journey began?
"Yeah, not at all," Turner said. "It was always something that I dreamed about, and I always had that goal in mind and I was always working towards that goal."
What followed was a methodical, step-by-step process which elevated him as a player.
First, it was going from walk-on to scholarship player at Richmond. Then a starting role. Then being an all-conference player, an All-American, a captain. Then last year, figuring out whether it was the right time to declare for the draft.
Take a look at photos of new Rams defensive lineman Kobie Turner from his time at Wake Forest.
After consulting with family and others close to him, he opted to stay and play for the Demon Deacons to prove he could play against top competition in the ACC, a decision that clearly paid off.
That approach that is something that resonated with Rams scouts.
"In no step in the process has he had a setback," personnel executive Chris Driggers said. "He's always kind of, 'Ok, this is a bigger step, he's done well.' Now he goes to East-West (Shrine Bowl), and he made a nice play at the end of the game. Then he goes and has a workout, you put on the tape of his workout, he did a nice job. Everything he does is a nice, steady progression."
Now, it's led to the opportunity to work alongside one of the game's greatest pass rushers in Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald.
"It's insane," Turner said. "When you're when you're a very young defensive lineman, that's who you watch. I studied his game so much. Especially a few years back, knowing that I was a little undersized by other people's terms, I learned just how good his hand placement is, how everything works, and thinking, just being able to watch his show, I'm so excited for the opportunity to be able to pick his brain, ask him questions and learn how he sees the game as I continue to adapt on my own style with how I approach football."
Like notes on sheet music, every choice has been calculated and carefully measured by Turner. Now, he heads to Los Angeles to see where the progression takes him next.