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Turner takes next step to NFL

FNS Photo by Carrie Snyder North Dakota State’s Billy Turner warms up before a Kansas State game on Aug. 30 in Manhattan, Kan.

FARGO — Billy Turner’s journey with the North Dakota State football team was documented since his freshman year with the Bison. These days, his quest for the NFL is being filmed, at times, every step of the way.

The former standout offensive lineman is the subject of an online show called “Driven” that will be aired on Viewers can already access a preview of it by going on the website and inputting the search words “Driven” and “Billy Turner.” The series documents smaller school players trying to make a name for themselves and proving doubters wrong.

It’s the product of a company called All Def Digital that uses YouTube as the source for its channel. Three men — Russell Simmons, Steve Rifkind and Brian Robbins — are the brain trust behind the operation, with Simmons documenting Turner’s story.

He first filmed him during the Senior Bowl and did subsequent shoots at the NFL Combine, North Dakota State’s Pro Day at the Fargodome and some scenes at Turner’s home in the Twin Cities.

“Basically it’s a chance for him to tell my story,” Turner said during an interview on WDAY-AM radio on Saturday morning.

The story will consist of eight episodes, Turner said, that will entail various aspects of his life. Each one will be different in its content.

“It’s mainly a camera guy who follows me around and asks me questions about everyday life,” he said.

Turner said his story started to become viable through his Premier Sports and Entertainment agent, who talked with All Def Digital during the Senior Bowl in January. Turner said All Def started to take interest when they saw film of the Kansas State game, a Bison upset victory, and liken his story to that of former Central Michigan offensive lineman Eric Fisher, who was the first overall pick in last year’s NFL Draft. Turner is expected to be a middle round pick in this year’s draft that takes place next month.

Meanwhile, Turner has six visits scheduled in the next five weeks with various NFL teams starting this weekend with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He compares it to being recruited out of high school and setting up campus visits.

“It’s a going from one team to another type of deal,” he said. “It’s a long process but you have to sit back and realize it’s part of trying to realize my dream.”

Jeff Kolpack
Jeff Kolpack covers North Dakota State athletics, the Fargo Marathon and golf for The Forum. His blog can be accessed at On the radio, Kolpack & Izzo sports talk show runs from 9-11 a.m. every Saturday morning. April through August, the WDAY Golf Show with Jeff Kolpack runs from 8-9 a.m.