Battle's speed will get him on the field as wide receiver, defensive back for Mavs
His speed gives the Colorado Mesa University football team a weapon it hasn’t had in a while: a deep threat at wide receiver and a player capable of playing on both sides of the ball.
Turmour Battle, a junior, was clocked at 4.4 seconds in the 40-yard dash in high school at Denver South, then clocked 4.41 seconds at Mendocino (Calif.) Junior College.
As Battle gets more comfortable with the offense in his first year at Colorado Mesa, Mavericks coach Russ Martin expects to get him on the field more, and not just on offense.
That Martin has the speed demon at all is a story full of twists for Battle, who drew interest from several Division I programs out of high school for his speed and versatility.
“Speed works out on both (sides of the ball),” Battle said. “If you think about it, you use speed going forward, but you use just as much speed going backward.”
He eventually chose the University of Wyoming because of its persistence in recruiting him.
Battle redshirted and later was released from the program, he said, because he failed a drug test, which he refutes.
“It was false accusations is all it was,” Battle said. “I was tested, and the results, in my opinion, was mixed up with other players. It never really got solved. Nobody really knows the full story.
“I had it all, then overnight it was taken away.”
Mendocino (Calif.) Junior College believed his story and gave him another chance, but the Eagles moved him to defensive back.
The 5-foot-9, 175-pounder earned all-conference honors and was again garnering interest from Division I programs, he but wasn’t getting any scholarship offers. Some programs likely hesitated as a result of the drug test.
“(Colorado Mesa) was really the only one that wanted me now,” said Battle, who signed with the Mavericks on the first day of the signing period.
Battle showcased his speed during the team’s fall scrimmage, catching a deep ball, but he has yet to catch a pass in a game.
“He’s been picking up the system,” Martin said. “He’s got very good athletic talent. We’re trying to get it where he understands the scheme even more so to consistently play well and get him on the field more.”
Battle may get an interception before he catches a pass.
Martin told Battle he may play both sides of the ball Saturday at Black Hills State University in Spearfish, S.D. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.
“It was already in conversation before I came out here,” Battle said. “Eventually, it was a matter of time. I didn’t know this soon, but I was ready as soon as he asked me.”
Martin told Battle the Mavericks may need him and his experience on defense with an injury to cornerback Valencio Gray, who broke his hand in Mesa’s loss to Chadron State last week. The Mavericks already lost two defensive backs to season-ending injury before the first game. Safety Evan Altheide had to quit football because of back problems. Safety Andrew Hurley tore a knee ligament in practice.
“He was an outstanding defensive back (in junior college) and is pretty dang good at it,” Martin said.
Dual roles to improve depth are becoming common for the Mavericks.
Martin said Dan Geubelle is working at running back and wide receiver; Thomas Sua is working at running back and tight end; and DJ Hubbard is working at receiver and running back.
“We can’t dig ourselves in a hole that we rely on one guy so much at one position,” Martin said. “If he gets hurt, it devastates us.”
Battle doesn’t care where he plays. He said he’s thankful he has a chance to utilize his physical skills to get a college education.
“It’s a blessed opportunity ... and I still have two years of eligibility left,” Battle said. “I’ll make the most of it.”