After a record-breaking junior season, Dakota Wesleyan University quarterback Dillon Turner was named the Great Plains Athletic Conference Player of the Year, it was announced by the conference on Tuesday.
The Salem, Arkansas native, sits in first-place in the NAIA in total offensive yards per game, totaling over 4,000 yards in 11 games. Turner also ranks No. 2 in total offensive yards per game with 385 and No. 5 in total passing yards with 3,197.
Turner was a true dual-threat during the 2016 season through the air and on the ground, completing 63 percent of his passes, while rushing for an average of 95 yards per game. He tallied eight touchdowns rushing and 39 passing, shattering the record for total touchdowns in a season set by Mark Conrad in 1996. Turner’s largest offensive effort came in a 42-37 victory over Dordt College on Oct. 8 after passing for 402 yards and three touchdowns, while tallying 204 yards on the ground and a score. He recently passed Jon Bane in the DWU record books for passing yards in a season with 3,197 set in 2011. Turner sits 1,920 yards shy of the career passing record, also set by Jon Bane from 2010-13.
The elusive junior quarterback helped the Tigers secure two more records during the 2016 season. Turner and Co. broke the record for total offensive yards in a season with 5,694, almost 1,000 more yards than the record of 4,547 set in 2013. The Tiger offense also broke the record for total passing yards in a season with 3,229. The previous record of 2,944 yards was set in 2011.
Senior Dustin Livingston was named to the GPAC First Team Special Teams for his efforts this season. The Irene, South Dakota native, tallied 1,347 yards for the DWU special teams, while hauling in 984 receiving yards to go along with 14 total touchdowns.
Livingston was also named to the GPAC Second Team, helping a DWU offense tally 433 total points, breaking the previous record of 329 set in 2013. Livingston and the Tigers also recorded 39.4 points per game, surpassing the previous record of 31.9 set in 1992. The senior tallied 52 receptions and 984 yards in 10 games. On Saturday hauled in a season-high 156 yards in a 42-31 victory over Midland University.
The Tiger defense was a force to reckon with in the GPAC, led by Brady Mudder and Adam Bormann as both seniors picked up GPAC First Team Defensive honors. Bormann, a native of Stickney, South Dakota, tallied 73 total tackles, 1.5 sacks, five tackles for loss and two forced fumbles. The senior tallied a season-high 13 tackles over Morningside College on Oct. 29. Bormann ends his DWU career with 280 total tackles.
Garretson, South Dakota native, Brady Mudder started in all 11 games for the Tigers as a senior, while recording 57 tackles, 9.5 sacks and 17.5 tackles for loss. Mudder ranks No. 9 in the NAIA in total sacks this season. Mudder ends his Tiger career with 177 total tackles.
The GPAC Second Team Offense included three more members of the 2016 squad. Sophomore’s Levi Rozeboom of Inwood, Iowa and Trevor Wietzema of Worthington, Minnesota earned second team honors on the offensive line. Both players were the foundation for the Tiger offense that ranked sixth in the NAIA in total offensive yards per game with 517.
Dillon Rork of Grand Island, Nebraska and Cody Bonte of Garretson, South Dakota were named to the GPAC Second Team Defense. Rork was a staple for the DWU defense at his linebacker position, tallying 74 tackles, 4.5 sacks, 15 tackles for loss and two pass break-ups. The sophomore recorded 11 tackles, a sack and 3.5 tackles for loss on Oct. 8 in a victory over Dordt College. Bonte finishes his four-year Tiger career with 56 tackles, a sack, seven tackles for loss, an interception and 19 pass break-ups. The senior ends his Tiger career with 152 total tackles and 32 total pass break-ups.
Senior Kodi Larson of Tyndall, South Dakota, Cohl Ratermann of Colome, South Dakota and Luke Loudenburg of Howard, South Dakota were named to the GPAC Honorable Mention list.
Larson finishes his four-year career with 106 receptions, 1,226 yards and nine touchdowns. Ratermann helped anchor the DWU defensive line throughout his four-years at DWU. Ratermann tallied 138 tackles, 3.5 sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss as a Tiger. Loudenburg handled most of the return duties for DWU this season. The freshman recorded 714 all-purpose yards and 130 rushing yards in in his first year in a Tiger uniform.
The Tigers season ends at 8-3, finishing at No. 16 in the NAIA Top-25 Coaches’ Poll.