Dan Turek promises he won’t let the newfound recognition go to his head.
Then again, an invitation to attend B.C. Lions’ rookie camp next month isn’t something the Okanagan Sun receiver is going to take lightly, either.
“It’s been a dream of mine for a long time, to play in the CFL,” said Turek. “This is only the first step, I can’t count my chickens, but it’s awesome to get the chance. I know there’s lots of work to be done, I’m happy and proud to have made it this far. I owe huge thanks for this to the Okanagan Sun.”
Turek will be in Kamloops June 2 for the start of the Lions’ rookie camp. And depending on how the 6-foot-3 Winnipeg product performs, he could be invited back to the club’s camp starting June 5.
Turek auditioned his talents for the Lions at a free agent camp earlier this month in Surrey where players performed several drills to test their speed, agility and general understanding of what Lions coaches were teaching.
According to the team’s assistant to the GM, Turek had passing grade on all counts.
“The thing we liked is he’s a big kid with an ability to move and run pretty good for a junior player,” said Lions assistant to the GM, Neil McEvoy. “He seemed to grasp what we were asking him to do, sometimes these camps can be tough on young guys but he dealt with it fairly well.”
Turek has put up some big numbers in his three seasons with the Sun: 112 catches for 2,238 yards and 17 majorsm, including playoffs.
He was also the BCFC rookie of the year in 2008 and an all-Canadian in 2009.
Turek credits former Sun head coach and ex-CFL receiver Jay Christensen with much of his progress to date.
“Jay has been an idol of mine, he’s guided me and coached me along the way and has really had a lot to do with where I am right now,” said Turek.
While the Lions rookie camp comes as welcome news, Turek’s most immediate focus is on the Sun’s spring camp this weekend where competition is expected to be fierce.
“First things first, spring camp is my main concern,” he said. “There are a lot of guys coming out, so it sounds like I’m going to have to fight for my job here. It’s what the Okanagan Sun expect and I’m going to take it seriously.”
Because Turek has one more season of junior eligibility remaining, McEvoy said this will be a year mostly of evaluation of the lanky receiver. Then in 2012, if Turek continues to make progress, he could become a more prominent figure in the Lions’ future plans.