Phil Steele recognizes 10 Hawkeyes
If any of you remember the Steve Martin movie "The Jerk" . . . The new phonebooks are here! The new phonebooks are here!
We're not talking about "just" the phonebook. It's with enthusiasm that was greet the first trickles of Phil Steele's College Football Preview. College football, at Kinnick Stadium, is still 89 days away, but Phil Steele is here! Phil Steele is here! Sort of. At least a little bit of it.
Just one Hawkeye named to Phil Steele's first team -- kick returner Jordan Cotton (who could, IMO, be a special teams player of the year candidate).
Iowa sports info compiled all the Hawkeyes on Steele's preseason all-Big Ten here:
10 Hawkeyes Named to Phil Steele’s Preseason All-Big Ten Team
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Ten members of the University of Iowa football team have been named to Phil Steele’s Preseason All-Big Ten team. The all-conference team is released as part of Phil Steele's College Football Preview magazine, which will be on newsstands June 18.
Senior kick returner Jordan Cotton was named to the first team; tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz, defensive tackle Carl Davis and linebacker James Morris were chosen to the second unit; offensive tackle Brandon Scherff, linebacker Anthony Hitchens and kicker Mike Meyer were selected to the third team; running back Mark Weisman, center Austin Blythe and linebacker Christian Kirksey were added to the fourth unit.
Cotton, a senior from Mount Pleasant, Iowa, led the Big Ten and ranked 14th nationally a year ago with a 28.2-yard average on 19 kickoff returns. Named first team All-Big Ten kick returner by CollegeSportsMadness.com, Cotton registered a 92-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against Penn State, tying the 10th-longest return in school history.
Fiedorowicz has started the last 17 games, and has recorded at least one reception in 18-straight contests. The Johnsburg, Ill., native was an honorable mention All-Big Ten selection last year after hauling in 45 receptions for 433 yards and one touchdown.
Davis, who hails from Sterling Heights, Mich., competed in 11 games in 2012. He recorded six solo tackles and eight assists, including 1.5 tackles for loss, and also recovered one fumble.
Morris -- named to the 2013 Lott IMPACT Trophy Watch List last month -- has been a starting linebacker for the Hawkeyes since his true freshman season in 2010. Last season he ranked third in the Big Ten and 31st nationally in tackles per game (9.4). He ranks 16th in career tackles (293). Morris was named a permanent team captain in 2012 while earning the Hayden Fry “Extra Heartbeat” Award and the Players Choice Award on defense. Morris earned honorable mention All-Big Ten honors as a sophomore and junior after being named Freshman All-America by CollegeFootballNews.com. The Solon, Iowa, native has earned Academic All-Big Ten recognition the past two years and was named to the CoSIDA/Capital One District VI Academic All-America team last fall.
Scherff started the first seven games at left tackle last season before suffering a season-ending injury. Scherff, one of two sophomores named to the 2012 Leadership Group, is from Denison, Iowa.
Hitchens, a 2012 honorable mention All-Big Ten selection, started all 11 games in which he played. The Lorain, Ohio, native led the team with 124 tackles, including 54 solo stops and 68 assists. Hitchens paced the Big Ten and ranked fifth in the nation in tackles per game (11.2), and recorded 10 or more stops in seven contests. He added 5.5 tackles for loss and one sack.
Meyer, who hails from Dubuque, Iowa, ranks fifth in career scoring with 235 points. The senior has connected on 45 career field goals, equaling the fifth-most in school history. Meyer has made 81 consecutive PATs to set a new school record. The honorable mention All-Big Ten selection led the team in scoring (76 points) in 2012, making all 25 PAT attempts and 17-of-21 field goals.
Weisman played 10 games at full back and running back last year, making nine starts. The Academic All-Big Ten honoree led the Hawkeyes in rushing with 159 attempts for 815 yards and eight touchdowns. Weisman ranked ninth in the Big Ten in rushing yards per game (81.5).
Blythe, a native of Williamsburg, Iowa, played in 10 games with nine starts at right guard during his freshman campaign, earning first team Freshman All-America by Scout.com.
Kirksey, a permanent defensive team captain, has started 25-straight games at linebacker. The St. Louis, Mo., native recorded 95 tackles last year, with 3.5 tackles for loss and two sacks. In 2012, he tied for first in the Big Ten and second in the nation with four recovered fumbles, and was one of eight players nationally with two interception returns for touchdowns.The Hawkeyes open the 2013 season August 31, hosting Northern Illinois in Kinnick Stadium.