To make it to a conference championship game, chances are you need more than a few good players. The Hawkeyes have plenty of them and Tuesday they were named as some of the best players in the Big Ten. Seniors Riley Moss and Charlie Jones received individual awards and 11 Hawkeyes in total received All-Big Ten defense and special teams honors.
Moss was named the Big Ten Tatum-Woodson Defensive Back of the Year. The senior ranked second on the team with four interceptions in the regular season, returning two of those for touchdowns. He also had 33 tackles. Moss missed three games this season after sustaining an injury in the Penn State game. He was ranked among the best corners in the country by Pro Football Focus. He’s the fifth Iowa defensive back to win the award in the 10 years of the award’s existence.
Jones took home the Rodgers-Dwight Return Specialist of the Year. The Buffalo transfer has been electric in the return game all season. He ranked in the top 25 nationally in both yards per kickoff and punt return. He returned one kickoff for a 100-yard touchdown against Illinois.
“Happy for those two guys, that’s a special honor for both players, well deserved,” Moon Family Head Football Coach Kirk Ferentz said. “Really hard earned and for all the guys that got Big Ten recognition, happy for them as well.”
Naturally, Moss was also named an All-Big Ten first team selection by the media and coaches. He’s joined by juniors Dane Belton and Jack Campbell on the media selections. Belton leads the team in interceptions. Campbell was voted to the third team by coaches after registering 121 tackles and two defensive touchdowns this season.
A pair of seniors in defensive lineman Zach VanValkenburg and corner Matt Hankins were voted to the second team. Hankins was third on the team in interception with three and is second in pass break-ups. He’s missed the last couple games with an injury and will be out the remainder of the season.
There were a few honorable mentions. The team’s second leading tackler in linebacker Seth Benson, defensive lineman Noah Shannon and the leader on the back end in safety Jack Koerner, were all recognized as well.
Jones was also named to a first-team All-Big Ten return man. He’s joined on the first team by senior kicker Caleb Shudak. Punter Tory Taylor was an All-Big Ten Honorable Mention.