That Iowa and Iowa State would both have Football Writers Association of America first-team All-America linebackers in the same season is uncommon enough.
That Josey Jewell of the Hawkeyes and ISU’s Joel Lanning both played for unbeaten Iowa high school championship teams in 2012 adds to the story.
Fullback (and linebacker) Jewell rushed for 160 yards and three touchdowns in Decorah’s 49-21 Class 3A title game win over Sioux City Heelan. Quarterback Lanning ran for 164 yards and two scores and passed for 122 yards and a TD in Ankeny’s 23-17 4A championship game victory over Cedar Rapids Xavier.
But then there’s this: Bill Post coached Jewell at Decorah. Post is Lanning’s uncle. Post’s sister is Lisa Post Lanning of Ankeny.
That’s a lot of linebacking goodness to link to one high school coach in northeast Iowa.
“To me, it’s overwhelming,” Post said Tuesday.
Post had long ago made his own name in football, having been co-head coach of Decorah’s team from 1994 to 2000 and head coach since. His record is 190-70. He has taken five Vikings teams to state title games. He was a 2014 inductee in the Iowa Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
For all those excellent Decorah teams, no one Post has coached has come close to making a football name for himself in college like Jewell.
“He means a tremendous amount to the community,” Post said. “Everyone’s very proud of him, honored to have someone represent Decorah in that manner.”
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Jewell’s college choices basically boiled down to Iowa and Decorah’s Luther College. Now he’s a consensus All-American.
“When you tell him he can’t do this or that, or he’s not good enough,” Post said, “it’s like waving a red flag in front of a bull. He gets more determined. His back stiffens up. And by God, he does it. Of course, he also has enough athletic ability and skills to do it.
“He’s always had another gear. He must be one of those semi trucks with 18 different gears he can switch to. That’s how he played. Whenever the competition rose, he just rose higher.”
Lanning gained a lot of national attention this fall when he took 13 snaps at quarterback in addition to playing a full game at linebacker in Iowa State’s 38-31 win over Oklahoma on Oct. 7.
“I didn’t have much to do with Joel’s success,” Post said. “I did throw a football and baseball with him in the backyard when he was younger. I was just watching as he went along.
“I think he has a strong commitment to things. When he makes up his mind he wants to do something, he sticks to it.”
Cyclones Coach Matt Campbell moved Lanning from quarterback to linebacker after last season.
“My eyebrows were raised,” Post admitted. “How do you move a guy who had never played that position since junior high to a Division I linebacker? He had a lot of things to learn in a short period of time.
“I questioned it, but I figured (Campbell) must know what he’s doing there.”
That turned out to be a correct assessment. Lanning became Iowa State’s first FWAA first-team All-American since running back Troy Davis in 1996.
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“To hear his name and see him do the kinds of things he did when I was at games or watching them on the big screen,” said Post, “my throat tightened up and my eyes were watery.
“The way he represents his family, his school and himself are just outstanding. It’s a big source of pride for us.”
If Jewell and/or Lanning make NFL rosters next year, Post will try to attend some of their games. Later this month, he’s making a trip to a bowl.
“Going to the Memphis game (for Iowa State’s Liberty Bowl),” he said. “Family.”