Iowa Football

The most-popular former Iowa Hawkeye football player is in the WWE

Ettore Ewen is the name, pro wrestling is his game

Iowa defensive lineman Ettore Ewen (left) battles with Michigan offensive lineman Jake Long at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich., on 10.21.06. Long was the No. 1 pick in the 2008 NFL draft and had a 9-year career that included four Pro Bowl appearances. Ewen went on to a career with the WWE, and performed at WrestleMania Sunday. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
Iowa defensive lineman Ettore Ewen (left) battles with Michigan offensive lineman Jake Long at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich., on 10.21.06. Long was the No. 1 pick in the 2008 NFL draft and had a 9-year career that included four Pro Bowl appearances. Ewen went on to a career with the WWE, and performed at WrestleMania Sunday. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)

For all the rattle and hum about Iowa football players who are about to be selected high in this month’s NFL draft, here’s something that might boggle a mind or two in Hawkeyeland:

Of all former Hawkeye footballers currently active in professional sports and entertainment, one has about as many Twitter followers as all the others combined. And he isn’t and never was in the NFL.

That would be Ettore Ewen, who last played defensive lineman for the Hawkeyes in 2006 and is an Iowa graduate. Here are the numbers by thousands of Twitter followers:

1. Ewen 749

2. Bryan Bulaga 169

3. Micah Hyde 116

4. Mike Daniels 95.4

5. Christian Kirksey 62.2

6. George Kittle 56.9

7. Anthony Hitchens 55.1

8. Adrian Clayborn 51.7

9. Brandon Scherff 26.3

10. Josh Jackson 25.7

11. Desmond King 22.1

12. Josey Jewell 14.3

13. Carl Davis 12.3

14. James Daniels 10.7

Some of you may have a question. Namely, who is Ettore Ewen and why does he have 749,000 Twitter followers (and 895,000 on Instagram)?

Ewen came to Iowa from Tampa, Fla. He played in 11 games as a sophomore in 2006 and made 14 tackles. Injuries prevented him from doing much more in football. Then he went off into the world.

In 2009, he signed a developmental contract with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). Ten years later, he is a veteran performer in the company. He participated in the company’s annual showcase event, WrestleMania, Sunday night.

So, the best-known former Hawkeye football player is a pro wrestler. As you draftniks get all hot for those picks to get made in a few weeks and look forward to seeing who snaps up Noah Fant and T.J. Hockenson, remember this:

As successful as they may be, they’re no Big E.

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Another former Iowa tight end is on to that. Kittle was on NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football” last week and talked ... pro wrestling. Of course, he has dabbled in it himself as this story details.

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