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Original Issue

Surfer Dude

Not even the sting of salt water keeps Kyle Turley's eyes from
widening in anticipation of the approaching swell. He draws his
knees forward, mounts his board and catches the wave. Surfing is
a familiar and calming pursuit for Turley, who, after impressive
showings at the combines, is suddenly the hottest name in the
April 18 NFL draft. "Whenever people cut him off [in the
water]," says Chris Ruddy, a surfing buddy who also makes
Turley's customized boards, "he just picks them up and tosses
them--in a gentle way. He doesn't rip their heads off or

After a stellar season at right tackle for San Diego State, the
6'5", 309-pound Turley could be the first lineman drafted. "He
looks like the complete package," fellow surfer and San Diego
Chargers G.M. Bobby Beathard says.

A semifinalist last year for both the Lombardi Award and the
Outland Trophy, Turley, who runs the 40 in 4.99 seconds, allowed
only two sacks in 385 pass attempts. He had 25 pancake blocks
and was penalized only four times. Not bad for a kid who hadn't
played football until his senior year in high school and arrived
at San Diego State as a 230-pound defensive end.

Turley credits his transformation to former Aztecs offensive
line coach Ed White, who played in four Super Bowls and four Pro
Bowls with the Minnesota Vikings and the Chargers during a
17-year career. "He taught the same technique they use in the
NFL," says Turley of White, now the line coach for the St. Louis
Rams. The two men also share a passion for drawing--Turley was
an art major, and White earned a degree in landscape
architecture. "Off the field we compared sketchbooks," Turley

Until Paul Tagliabue calls his name, Turley has his days
planned. "I'll sit on a beach," he says, "pick up my board and
catch a wave, eat lunch, go back out and do it all again."

--Paul Gutierrez

COLOR PHOTO: M. NOWAK/ZWINK HOT PROSPECT Turley could be the first lineman taken, but he's blissful riding his custom board. [Kyle Turley surfing]