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December 15, 2003
NORTHERN ILLINOIS TB MICHAEL 'THE BURNER' TURNER MAKES AP ALL-AMERICA UNIT---FIFTH OF THE YEAR
DeKALB, IL --- Time for your daily "Turner the Burner" Postseason Update: Northern Illinois University tailback Michael "The Burner" Turner officially made his fifth All-America team of the year Monday (December 15) and the tenth in the last two seasons.
The 5-foot-10, 232-pound Huskie senior was named to the 2003 Associated Press major-college unit announced from New York City. Turner and Miami (OH) University junior quarterback Ben Roethlisberger---a third-team pick---were the only two Mid-American Conference performers selected on the AP All-America squad this year.
Turner shared a Second-Team AP All-America runningback slot with Virginia Tech junior Kevin Jones. Chris Perry of Michigan and Darrren Sproles of Kansas State were the AP First-Team All-America runners this fall.
"The national honors keep piling up for Michael," said Northern Illinois head coach Joe Novak. "The AP All-America team is one of the most prestigious and most respected All-America teams. Again, and I sound like a broken record, that's tremendous recognition for both Michael and our program. What a fitting climax to a great senior year and career here."
Earlier, Turner (North Chicago) had been honored as a Second-Team All-America by The Sporting News and CNN-Sports Illustrated.com, plus Honorable Mention All-America by Rivals.com and Collegefootballnews.com. The five 2003 All-America teams for the Northern Illinois quint-captain matched the number Turner made as a junior.
In 2002, Turner was tabbed on All-America teams by the Football Digest (second-team), The Sporting News (third-team), Pro Football Weekly, Collegefootballnews.com (honorable mention), and CNN-Sports Illustrated.com (honorable mention). As a junior, Turner led the Mid-Am in rushing with a league-record 1,915 yards and wound up second nationally in ground-gaining.
Committed last May to play in the East-West Shrine Classic in San Francisco on January 10, 2004, Turner will also play in a second postseason all-star game to be announced this week. Turner finished the 2003 campaign with 1,648 yards rushing. His 137.33-yards-per-game average ranks No. 3 in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division 1-A ranks behind junior runningback Patrick Cobbs (157.0 ypg.) of North Texas and Sproles (139.14 ypg.), who both will make bowl appearances with their respective teams. For the first time, the NCAA will include postseason statistics in its regular-season statistics.
Turner repeated as a Doak Walker National Runningback Award semifinalist and made First-Team All-MAC during the last two seasons. "The Burner" completed his collegiate eligibliity as the No. 1 rusher in school history (4,941 career yards), No. 2 all-time in the Mid-Am, and No. 13 in NCAA 1-A history.
In its major-college tenure since 1969, Northern Illinois has had numerous Honorable Mention AP All-Americas and four individuals on the first three teams---wide receiver Dave Petzke (third-team) in 1978, offensive guard Todd Peat (third-team) in 1986, tailback LeShon Johnson (first-team) in 1993, and now Turner.
(For further information, please contact Mike Korcek) -NIU-