<p>T.J. Turner (35) is shown during Michigan State&rsquo;s game against then top-ranked Ohio State on Nov. 7, 1998 at Ohio Stadium in Columbus. (Photo by Steve Roush.)</p>
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T.J. Turner (35) is shown during Michigan State’s game against then top-ranked Ohio State on Nov. 7, 1998 at Ohio Stadium in Columbus. (Photo by Steve Roush.)

 

The Highland County Press

Former NFL football player and Hillsboro High School graduate T.J. Turner has died after battling cancer.

He was 35.

Turner was drafted by the New England Patriots in 2001, following an outstanding college career with the Michigan State Spartans.

Playing for the Hillsboro Indians, Turner was first team All-Ohio, All-Region, All-District and All-League as a senior in 1996.

He was named league MVP after recording 103 tackles, including seven sacks, in just seven games in 1996. He also had three interceptions and recovered six fumbles.

On offense, Turner caught 39 passes for 757 yards (19.4 avg.) and 14 touchdowns as the starting tight end in 1996. He helped Hillsboro to a combined regular-season record of 37-3 during his four-year high school career.

In addition, Turner averaged 18 points and 10 rebounds playing basketball for the Indians.

Turner suffered a season-ending injury his senior season at Michigan State, but still earned four letters (1997-2000) for the Spartans.

In his junior year in 1999, Turner was named All-Big Ten Conference honorable mention.

He started all year at middle linebacker, finishing fifth on the team with 66 tackles and recorded two sacks and eight stops behind the line of scrimmage.

A highlight of his junior season came against the Purdue Boilermakers when he intercepted two Drew Brees passes and returned one 88-yards for a touchdown.

Funeral arrangements are incomplete at this time. The Turner Funeral Home in Hillsboro is serving the family.