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Monday, August 15, 2022
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Cowboys Sign USFL MVP KaVontae Turpin


New Jersey Generals KaVontae Turpin carries the ball against the Birmingham Stallions during the second half of a USFL football game April 16, 2022. | Image by Butch Dill/AP Photo

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The Dallas Cowboys have added a new player to the receiving corps, and he has strong ties to the Dallas community. The Cowboys announced on Thursday they had signed former TCU wide receiver and kick returner KaVontae Turpin.

Turpin spent last season playing with the New Jersey Generals in the United States Football League (USFL).

Turpin was named the league’s Most Valuable Player after the 2022 season and led the league in receptions. He had a total of 540 yards on only 53 receptions and compiled 316 yards after the catch to help the Generals achieve a league-best 9-1 record during the regular season.

The Generals were eliminated in the semifinals by the Philadelphia Stars after winning nine straight games in the inaugural season of action for the new league.

North Dallas football fans may remember Turpin from his time at Texas Christian University, where he led the Big 12 in punt return yards overall, yards per return, and touchdown returns for all three years at TCU.

Turpin was cut from the TCU team in October 2018 after an arrest for alleged domestic violence that led to battery charges.

The arrest was the second for Turpin, who had a prior arrest in March 2018 in New Mexico that included a battery charge stemming from an incident with his longtime girlfriend. The outcome of the March charges is unclear, but Turpin pled guilty to the October charges and was sentenced to two years probation and a 27-week Partner Abuse Intervention Program through SafeHaven of Tarrant County.

Turpin is considered to be one of the better options on the market for dynamic kick returners. His small stature is far from the prototype sought by NFL teams, but his production in three years at TCU and his one season with New Jersey show that he has the ability to make plays despite his 5’9″, 155-pound frame.

While the USFL recognized him for his receiving skills, the Cowboys are most likely to view him as a viable alternative to using newly-minted WR1 CeeDee Lamb as a kick returner.

Lamb returned 14 punt kicks in 2021 and 24 in 2020, his first year in the league. In 2021, Lamb averaged 9.9 yards per return, up from 7.5 the season before. Turpin averaged 12.1 yards-per-return in his three seasons with the Horned Frogs.

In addition to posing a significant threat on special teams, Turpin could also be useful in the receiving game, as it is now all but certain that Michael Gallup will be sidelined when the regular season begins after suffering an ACL tear at the end of the 2021 season. The Cowboys traded former WR1 Amari Cooper during the offseason, opening the door for Lamb to take on a larger role on offense.

The Cowboys announced they had released fullback Nick Ralston from the training camp roster to make room for Turpin. Training camp is currently underway in Oxnard, California. The Cowboys will remain on the West Coast until August 10, returning to The Star at Frisco to wrap up training camp.    

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