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Your Favorite Offensive Lineman

by Dan Gunderson

Former North Dakota State University offensive tackle Billy Turner is getting a lot of love from scouts and media members during his Senior Bowl practices down in Mobile, Alabama this week.

Coming into the third day of practices, some scouts are saying that Turner is the second best lineman at the Senior Bowl. For fans of Bison football, this is justification of what they already knew. Billy Turner is really good at his job.

Turner is soft spoken, which sometimes shocks you when you approach the mountain of a man. You expect someone of his size to overtake a room not only with his presence but his voice. Turner is not one of those players. He lets his play do most of his talking.

Turner was also the most consistent player for NDSU the past four seasons. Turner started in 56 of his 57 career games and was a two-time All-American for the Bison. While the Bison had key players suffer injuries throughout their playing careers, Turner walked out onto the field game after game.

The Bison gave up a combined 60 sacks from 2011 to 2013. Playing in 45 games in that stretch, that is an average of 1.3 sacks per game. Turner’s senior year, he was responsible for zero sacks allowed.

That is a strong performance for a guy who could end up being the school’s most famous offensive lineman. Being an offensive lineman is a job that gets the least amount publicity and is the most important part of the offensive game. What good is a solid quarterback if he never has time to throw?

Turner is the perfect example of what NDSU football has been over the past three years. He is consistent, strong and not flashy. NDSU’s 43-2 record over the last three seasons was brought on by great offensive balance, consistent play from their defense and not by just trying to outscore the other team.

This is little doubt that Turner will get drafted. I have little doubt that the team he lands on will be pleasantly surprised by his play. However, it won’t come to a surprise to Bison fans if Turner ends up having a solid pro career.

You can follow Daniel "Pinto" Gunderson on Twitter at @pintoKFGO or friend him on Facebook. You can hear him on his weekly podcast show on kfgo.com, 740thefan.com or on iTunes called “The Pinto and White Shadow Show.” Pinto is a radio producer within the Midwest Communications-Fargo company.