College Football

Josey Jewell named Big Ten's best defender

Josh Jackson wins defensive back honor

Iowa linebacker Josey Jewell tackles Purdue running back Richie Worship during the Hawkeyes’ loss to the Boilermakers earlier this month. Jewell was named the Big Ten’s top defender on Thursday. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
Iowa linebacker Josey Jewell tackles Purdue running back Richie Worship during the Hawkeyes’ loss to the Boilermakers earlier this month. Jewell was named the Big Ten’s top defender on Thursday. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — Josey Jewell is the Big Ten’s best defender.

That’s no longer an opinion held only by University of Iowa football fans.

It’s now written on the league’s top award.

Jewell and junior Josh Jackson were named recipients of three Big Ten individual awards on Thursday, the league announced.

Jewell earned the Nagurski-Woodson Defensive Player of the Year and the Butkus-Fitzgerald Linebacker of the Year.

Jackson was named the Tatum-Woodson Defensive Back of the Year.

It is Iowa’s first individual Big Ten honor since 2015 when head coach Kirk Ferentz won the Hayes-Schembechler Coach of the Year and Desmond King the Tatum-Woodson Defensive Back of the Year.

Jewell, a senior from Decorah, and Jackson earned first-team All-Big Ten honors earlier this week.

Jewell leads the Big Ten and ranks third nationally in tackles (125 total, 11.4 per game). He also is one of five finalists for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, the Senior CLASS Award and the Lott IMPACT Trophy. He won the Jack Lambert Award on Monday.

Jewell has led Iowa in tackles each of the last three seasons and ranks fifth in school history with 426 career tackles.

Jackson, from Corinth, Texas, is tied as the national leader with seven interceptions. He leads the nation with 25 passes defended and is tied for second in interception return touchdowns (two) and pass breakups (18). He won the Jack Tatum Award on Tuesday and is one of three finalists for the Jim Thorpe Award.

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Jackson tied Iowa’s school record with two interception returns for touchdowns (B.J. Lowery, 2013) at Wisconsin, covering 43 and 52 yards. The previous week, Jackson tied Iowa’s school record with three interceptions in Iowa’s 55-24 win over No. 3 Ohio State.

Jewell is the first Hawkeye to win the Nagurski-Woodson Award since defensive end Leroy Smith in 1991 and first to win the Butkus-Fitzgerald Award. Jackson is the third Hawkeye to win the Tatum-Woodson Award, joining Micah Hyde (2012) and King (2015).

The Hawkeyes (7-5) will find out their bowl destination on Sunday.

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