The most important position on the football field never touches the ball for Mercer Island.
Mercer Island left tackle Aksel Turk, who protects senior quarterback Nikhil Nayar’s blindside, is responsible for making sure his quarterback is comfortable in the pocket. Nayar, who is one of the top signal callers in the KingCo 3A Conference, is blessed to have a player like Turk keeping him safe between the white lines of the gridiron.
The 6-foot, 6-inch, 240-pound lineman relishes the role of being a leader on the line.
“I got the blindside so I got to make sure that nothing gets to him that he doesn’t see,” Turk said. “I think it is one of the more important positions on the offensive line. I think we’re going to have a really good offensive line. We have a lot of big guys. Jaeden (Pritchard) and I both got first-team all-KingCo last year. We have a lot of experienced players.”
Turk said the biggest surprise of the first few weeks of practice is the emergence of freshman offensive lineman Derek Osman. Turk has marveled at the freshman’s tenacity in practice sessions.
“He is a freshman but he doesn’t look like a freshman,” he said. “He is really good and has impressed me. I really want him to start and I think he will.”
Recently, the Mercer Island Reporter had an opportunity to ask Turk a few questions about his life away from the football field.
Mercer Island Reporter: What is your favorite movie of all time?
Aksel Turk: “Inglourious Basterds.” Quentin Tarantino is a great producer and I just like his movies.
MIR: What is your favorite eatery on Mercer Island?
AT: QDOBA (Mexican restaurant). I like their quesadillas.
MIR: How many text messages do you send per day?
AT: I send around 10. I don’t send them too often.
MIR: What is your biggest pet peeve?
AT: When there is something on a whiteboard that is not erased and a small little mark is left. That really bothers me.
MIR: What is something unique about you that nobody would know?
AT: I play the guitar. I started when I was 10 years old.
MIR: Who was your favorite sports team growing up?
AT: Liverpool F.C. (professional soccer team). I grew up in Norway. Soccer is a lot bigger there.
MIR: Who is your favorite athlete of all time?
AT: In football, I would go with Joe Thomas (Cleveland Browns) because he plays the same position as I do (left tackle). He is one of the best of all-time. He is an athlete I look up to definitely.