Iowa linebacker Josey Jewell, whose college decision came down to a late offer from Iowa or playing at Division III Luther College in his hometown was named this morning as the best defensive player in the Big Ten.
Jewell was announced as the recipient of the Nagurski-Woodson Big Ten defensive player of the year award, presented following a dominant senior season.
He is the first Hawkeye to be selected as the Big Ten defensive player of the year since defensive end Leroy Smith won the honor in 1991.
Penn State running back Saquon Barkley was named the Graham-George Big Ten offensive player of the year and Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst received both the Hayes-Schembechler coach of the year award selected by his peers and the Dave McClain coach of the year award chosen by league media.
Jewell and junior cornerback Josh Jackson, two leaders of the Iowa football team’s defense, were also named the Big Ten players of the year at their positions.
Jewell was named the winner of the Butkus-Fitzgerald Big Ten linebacker of the year award and Jackson became the third Hawkeye in six years selected as the recipient of the Tatum-Woodson Big Ten defensive back of the year award.
The honors were announced as the conference unveiled its individual award recipients for the 2017 season and both Iowa players were honored as first-team all-conference selections earlier in the week.
Jewell, a four-year starter from Decorah, Iowa, leads the Big Ten and ranks third nationally with 125 tackles this season.
He is just the third Hawkeye to have three seasons with 115 tackles or more, joining Larry Station (1983-85) and Abdul Hodge (2003-05) in accomplishing that feat.
Jackson shares the national lead with seven interceptions this season.
A first-year starter from Corinth, Texas, he leads the nation with 25 passes defended and is tied for second in the country with two interceptions returned for touchdowns and 18 pass break-ups.
Jackson’s selection as the Big Ten’s defensive back of the year follows Micah Hyde receiving the honor in 2012 and Desmond King in 2015.