A four-year starter and a player who made the most of his first season in the lineup represent Iowa on the all-Big Ten defensive football teams announced Tuesday.
Senior linebacker Josey Jewell and junior cornerback Josh Jackson earned first-team honors on all-conference teams selected by both league coaches and the media.
Coach Kirk Ferentz last week called Jewell “one of the best football players’’ Iowa has had at any position in his 19 seasons as the Hawkeyes’ head coach, pointing out he will become Iowa’s first three-time captain since at least 1930 when those honors are handed out next month.
Ferentz also praised the performance of Jackson as a first-year starter, whose career path parallels Jewell.
“Like Josey, he just came up the ranks,’’ Ferentz said. “It wasn’t like he was heralded coming in or anything like that. He’s worked very hard every step of the way and it’s neat to see him have the success.’’
The Hawkeyes’ Anthony Nelson, a sophomore defensive end, was a third-team selection of the media panel and earned honorable mention from conference coaches. Defensive tackle Nathan Bazata and linebacker Ben Niemann earned honorable mention from both groups.
The Big Ten will announce its offensive all-conference teams today and will unveil individual award winners on Thursday.
Jewell, a four-year starter and second-team all-league pick the past two seasons, was named to the first team after leading the Big Ten and ranking third nationally with 125 tackles despite missing one game because of an injury.
The Decorah, Iowa, native, a finalist for the Bronko Nagurski Award as the nation’s top defensive player, also averages a league-leading 11.4 tackles.
Jackson stepped into the Iowa lineup this season at left cornerback, replacing all-American Desmond King and he has thrived, recording 47 tackles on the season.
The Cornith, Texas, native is a finalist for the Jim Thrope Award and leads the Big Ten and is tied for first nationally with seven interceptions this season. Jackson also leads the country with 25 passes defended and is tied for second nationally with two interceptions returned for touchdowns and 18 pass break-ups.
Nelson, an Urbandale, Iowa native who prepped at Waukee, has 35 tackles on the season and leads Iowa with six sacks. He is second on the team with six quarterback hurries and is third with eight tackles for a loss.
Bazata finished the regular season with 42 tackles and was fourth on the team with 6.5 tackles for a loss while Niemann contributed 74 tackles including six tackles for a loss from his outside linebacker position.
Four Illinois players, James Crawford, Jaylen Dunlap, Stanley Green and Blake Hayes, were awarded honorable mention.
Also Tuesday, Iowa senior safety Miles Taylor was named as the Hawkeyes’ Big Ten sportsmanship award recipient.