MITCHELL, S.D. – History has been made as Dakota Wesleyan University football senior quarterback Dillon Turner was named Great Plains Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year for the second-consecutive year it was announced by the conference on Tuesday. This marks the first time in GPAC football history that a player has won the award outright in back-to-back seasons. Craig Fobbe of Morningside College won the GPAC Co-Offensive Player of the Year in 2004, while winning the award outright in 2005.
The Salem, Ark., native made his presence known from the moment he stepped onto the football field for the first time until he stepped off the field for the last time on Nov. 4.
In 2015 he notched 2,366 passing yards, 889 rushing yards and 35 total touchdowns. He helped lead the Tigers to a 9-2 record, finishing the season ranked 14th in the NAIA, just missing the national playoffs.
Turner came into his own during his junior season after recording 3,197 passing yards, 1,043 rushing yards, 47 total touchdowns, while helping the Tigers to an 8-3 overall record. He was named GPAC Offensive Player of the Year in 2016 for his efforts on the field.
In his senior campaign, Turner etched his name in the DWU football record books. He finished the season with 3,400 passing yards, 926 rushing yards, 48 total touchdowns. Turner tied the GPAC record for passing touchdowns in a game with seven and owns the conference records for passing yards in a career with 10,704 yards and passing touchdowns in a career with 115. He also holds the school records for touchdowns in a season with 48, passing offense in a season with 3,400 passing yards, touchdowns in a career and passing yards in a career. Turner ranks third on the DWU all-time list in career rushing yards with 3,215 yards, and ranks first in career passing yards, single season passing yards and career total offense with 13,919 yards.
In his time at DWU, Turner played in all 44 games and started in 43 of them.
Joining him on the list of All-GPAC First Team members is Hayden Adams. A year after being named All-GPAC Second Team, the Villa Park, Ill., native had a season to remember.
Adams finished the season with 81 receptions, 1,472 receiving yards and 18 touchdowns. He finished the regular season ranked first in the NAIA in receiving yards per game with 133.8 yards and total receiving yards. He also ranks second nationally in total receptions and fourth in receptions per game with 7.4 receptions per game.
He holds the DWU football records for receiving yards and receptions in a game with 254 yards on 18 catches against Doane University on Sept. 16. Adams also broke school records for receiving yards in a season, receptions in a season and career receiving yards with 3,243 yards. He ranks second in DWU history in career receptions with 213 and in scoring with 258 points.
Trevor Wietzema (Worthington, Minn.) and Levi Rozeboom (Inwood, Iowa) were each named All-GPAC First Team offensive linemen. The duo helped pave the way for one of the nation's most prolific offensive attacks. The offense finished the regular season ranked second in the NAIA in total offense per game with 560.7 yards, fifth in first downs per game with 28, seventh in total passing offense with 3,499 passing yards, eighth in total scoring offense with 480 points, ninth in passing offense per game with 318 yards per game and 10th in scoring offense per game with 44 points per game.
Defensively, Dillon Rork (Grand Island, Neb.) received All-GPAC First Team honors. Rork finished the season with 44 solo tackles, 24 assisted tackles and 68 total tackles. The junior linebacker also tallied 11.5 tackles for loss, three sacks and two interceptions.
He began the season with a career-high 14 tackles against Dakota State University on Aug. 24. Rork had one of his best games against Hastings College as he tallied eight tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and two sacks. Rork currently has 196 tackles, 31.5 tackles for loss and 10 sacks in his career.
The lone player nominated to the All-GPAC Second Team was sophomore linebacker Eathen Gaulke (Kimball, S.D.). He led the conference in sacks with 8.5 total sacks, and recorded 22 solo tackles, 13 assisted tackles and 35 total tackles. Gaulke also notched 12.5 tackles for loss.
Charlie LaRoche (Lower Brule, S.D.) and Emmanuel Christopher (Sioux Falls, S.D.) were each named to the All-GPAC Honorable Mention team. LaRoche finished his senior season with 51 total tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss and four interceptions. Christopher added 34 total tackles, nine tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks and a fumble recovery.
The Tigers finished the 2017 season with a record of 6-5 and fifth in the GPAC.