Irish Eye Roberson

Back in the mid-1950s, Thomas Murray Turner earned an academic scholarship to the University of Notre Dame. Perhaps 50 years later, his alma mater will extend a football scholarship to his grandson and one of California's top running backs, Cameron Roberson.

Thomas Murray Turner graduated pre-med from Notre Dame in 1959, becoming a trailblazer for young African Americans that would later attend the University.

"To my understanding, he was one of the earliest African American graduates that graduated from Notre Dame," his daughter Tonya Turner said. "I'm not sure exactly what the number is, but he is one of the earliest."

Now a retired doctor, the elder Turner is one of the proudest.

Turner looks back fondly on his time at Notre Dame, and has passed down his love for the Irish to the generations in his family.

"I see him pretty often," Cameron Roberson said of his grandfather. "He's told me it's a great school and a great place to be for four years."

"Great four years there," Roberson's mother added. "He was a very studious person, so the fact that Notre Dame is such an incredible academic institution, he really enjoyed his time getting the education he received there."

This Saturday, Roberson and his mom will finally get to see the place for themselves. The two are booked to be in South Bend for Notre Dame's spring game.

"I'm ready to go," the 6-foot-1, 215-pound Roberson said. He already holds scholarship offers from Arizona, BYU and Wyoming, and besides Notre Dame, is also hearing from the likes of Oregon, UCLA and Northwestern. "I heard it was a great campus. A lot of history there."

A few weeks ago, Tonya Turner caught wind that the Irish coaching staff was interested in her son. She got assistant coach Brian Polian's number, and the two have remained in regular contact ever since.

"It's an honor to be considered by Notre Dame, so it was an exciting time for us to hear that Notre Dame was considering Cameron."

Roberson himself got a chance to talk with Polian on Tuesday of this week.

"He said they're really interested in me, and they want me to come out there and show me around the campus and get me to think about maybe going there.

"They say I'm pretty high on their list. There is like a couple guys ahead of me, maybe two or three guys ahead of me.

"I know they have a big recruiting map. They recruit guys from places like Texas and Florida. It's exciting because I know I have a pretty good chance (of being offered)."

Between Roberson and his grandfather, it might be tough to tell who is more excited about the prospects of a potential Notre Dame scholarship offer. Roberson's mom couldn't wait to tell her dad that the Irish have jumped into the recruiting picture.

"I can't even express the expression on his face," she said. "He was just so thrilled for that. You're happy that your grandkids are considering college and thinking about their future, but to possibly attend the university he went to, he is very proud of that and very proud of Cameron."

As a junior, Roberson rushed for 1,400 yards and 18 touchdowns, helping lead Newbury Park to a 7-4 record and a spot in the playoffs.

"(College coaches) like that I'm a big back, but I also have a lot of breakaway speed, and I'm still pretty agile," Roberson explained.

Roberson says he's completely open regarding the recruiting process, but Notre Dame has had his attention for years.

"The prestige mainly," Roberson stated. "I know it has one of the top academics in the country."

Roberson has a 3.3 GPA, and is thinking about going into medicine as well, but may also major in business. He'd like to make his college decision this summer, but says his mother would like him to wait until his senior season and sort through all of his options.

"Mainly the academics and the school life, just the people around there," Roberson said of what he's looking for in a school."

Roberson has only had a chance to visit Arizona. If there is time to see Northwestern this coming weekend while in the Midwest visiting Notre Dame, the two will try and make it up to Evanston as well. There will be plenty of other visits to several campuses down the road.

"I just want Cameron to see the different schools and see what the different areas have to offer," Tonya Turner said. "Notre Dame is a great school and, it's definitely something we're excited about seeing." Top Stories