Arizona State punter Michael Turk is being afforded the opportunity to return to play football for the Sun Devils after not being selected in the 2020 NFL Draft and going unsigned, an Arizona State spokesperson confirmed to AZ Central on Wednesday. Turk had declared for the 2020 NFL Draft following a successful 2019 season and even signed with an agent, so the waiver approval likely is the first of its kind.
Turk's return was permitted after Arizona State applied for a special waiver so that his eligibility could be restored. In the application, the school argued that Turk should be allowed back due to special extreme circumstances that surrounded his attempt to get drafted -- namely the coronavirus pandemic sending shockwaves throughout the sports world. The pandemic canceled ASU's Pro Day and also prevented Turk from participating in private workouts for teams, a staple for prospects ahead of the draft.
Should the college football season take place as scheduled in the fall, there could be some interesting competitive tension waiting for Turk upon his return. Believing their punter had left for the pros, coach Herm Edwards and the Sun Devils brought in grad transfer Logan Tyler from Florida State. Now the two will have to compete for first-team punter duties, while also competing with Cristian Zendejas for place-kicking responsibilities.
Turk is the nephew of former NFL punter Matt Turk, whom he worked out with during the offseason. Another uncle, Daniel Turk, also played in the NFL for 15 seasons as an offensive lineman. He spent time with the Steelers, Buccaneers, Raiders and Washington.
Turk was a first team All-Pac 12 selection following the 2019 season, and made headlines in February after outperforming eventual Pro Bowl defensive lineman in the.