January 22, 2003
TB MICHAEL TURNER, WR DAN SHELDON NAMED ON FOOTBALL DIGEST ALL-AMERICA
DeKALB, IL --- Want a good omen for Northern Illinois University football
in 2003? Consider the fact that the season has been over for almost two
months and Huskie players are still popping up on 2002 All-America teams.
Yup, "The Burner" and "The Returner" did it again.
Deja vu NIU. Better known as tailback Michael Turner (North Chicago)
and wide receiver-return specialist Dan Sheldon (Elgin / Burlington
Central), respectively, that duo made Second-Team All-America in the January
issue of Football Digest. The word is getting around about
The Football Digest 2002 All-America team was selected by
staff writer Joe Donatelli.
"That's certainly great news," said Huskie head coach Joe
Novak. "The best news is that both are back this fall. So all
of us can look for bigger and better things from both Michael and Danny.
I'll say this: You would have to look around the country to find a more
productive one-two punch. It's one thing to have talent and another to
be so productive as they both were last season."
Novak certainly is correct on that statement since the Turner-Sheldon
duo combined for 3,826 all-purpose yards---the combination of individual
rushing, receiving, punt, kickoff, and interception yards---last season
when Northern Illinois finished 8-4 overall and shared its second consecutive
Mid-American Conference West Division title.
During 2002, the six-foot, 223-pound Turner finished second in the National
Collegiate Athletic Association Division 1-A ranks in rushing (159.6 yards-per-game
average) and No. 2 in all-purpose yardage (190.3 ypg. average) as a junior.
Of course, "The Burner"---with a single-season MAC record 1,915
yards---will be the nation's top returning major-college rusher in 2003.
The 5-11, 175-pound Sheldon, who led the country in punt returns with
a 22.7 yards-per-return average last fall as a sophomore---also wound
up at No. 36 in NCAA all-purpose yards (128.5 ypg.).
To date in the 2002 postseason, Turner put his name on five different
All-America units and Sheldon did the same three times. In addition to
the Football Digest honors, "The Burner" made
Third-Team All-America via The Sporting News and Collegefootballnews.com,
Joel Buchsbaum Pro Football Weekly All-America, plus CNN-Sports
Illustrated Honorable Mention All-America. Previously, Sheldon placed
his name on the Collegefootballnews.com Second-Team All-America and the
CNN-Sports Illustrated Honorable Mention All-America units.
For Northern Illinois, Turner and Sheldon represent the first multiple,
single-season All-America grid selections since 2000 when offensive tackle
Ryan Diem earned Third-Team honors and wide receiver Justin
McCareins won Honorable Mention accolades from the Football
News for coach Novak. In 1993, five Huskie performers---tailback
LeShon Johnson (who made unanimous First-Team All-America that
year), linebacker Gerald Nickelberry, offensive guard Tim O'Brien,
tight end Raymond Roberts, and placekicker Brian Steger---made
at least one All-America unit for head coach Charlie Sadler.
(For further information,
please contact Mike Korcek)