MITCHELL, S.D. – Football was not always a top priority for former-DWU quarterback Dillon Turner. Growing up, he wanted to be a professional bull rider, but that all changed when Turner received his first football recruiting letter as a freshman in high school.
"I used to want to be a professional bull rider when I was little," Turner said. "But I realized that football is what I wanted to chase as a dream after I got my first recruiting letter as a freshman."
After a historic career with the Dakota Wesleyan University football team, it looks as if that decision worked out for Turner, as he is looking to continue his football career on the professional level with the Sioux Falls Storm.
The Salem, Ark., native began his collegiate career as a backup, but came off the sidelines and led DWU to a victory over Wisconsin-Stout University. After coming off the bench, Turner started every game in his four years thereafter.
Turner finished his freshman season 1,741 passing yards, 357 rushing yards and 21 total touchdowns. He averaged 158.3 passing yards per game and 32.5 rushing yards per game. Jump ahead to his junior season, Turner finished with 3,197 passing yards, 1,043 rushing yards and 47 total touchdowns. He averaged 290.6 passing yards per game and 94.8 rushing yards per game.
The 6-foot-1, 215-pound quarterback set a career high with 31 pass completions and 204 rushing yards against Dordt College during his junior season. He also notched seven passing touchdowns against Briar Cliff University in that same year. Turner was named the Great Plains Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year for his efforts throughout his junior season.
Following a record-breaking season in 2016, Turner improved in almost every statistical category, completing a historic senior campaign. During the 2017 season, he notched a career high with 446 passing yards against Midland University in a 55-21 victory. Turner finished his senior year with 3,400 passing yards, 926 rushing yards and 48 total touchdowns. Thanks to his play on the field, Turner was named the GPAC Offensive Player of the Year for a second-consecutive season.
Turner accumulated 10,704 passing yards, 3,215 rushing yards, 13,919 all-purpose yards and 151 touchdowns. He holds the DWU record for passing yards in a career and touchdowns in a career.
Turner will take his talents to Sioux Falls, South Dakota where he will play for the Sioux Falls Storm, a member of the Indoor Football League. Head coach Kurtiss Riggs expects Turner to bring a hard-working attitude every day.
"Usually when we are able to bring in a small school athlete, especially from a local school, the athlete brings a blue-collar workman like mentality every day," Riggs said.
The Storm have been a member of the IFL since 2009, and have won the league championship six times during that span, including six-straight championships from 2011-2016. Turner looks to continue that success for the Storm and prove he can play at the next level.
"I want to be able to see if I can compete at the professional level," Turner said. "The speed of the game is going to be fun and becoming more of a student of the game and getting to learn more about football is what I am excited for."