Pair of Hawkeyes named Thorpe Award semifinalists

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AMES, IA – SEPTEMBER 11: Defensive back Matt Hankins #8 of the Iowa Hawkeyes intercepts a pass meant for wide receiver Xavier Hutchinson #8 of the Iowa State Cyclones in the second half of play at Jack Trice Stadium on September 11, 2021 in Ames, Iowa. The Iowa Hawkeyes won 27-17 over the Iowa State Cyclones. (Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images)


Iowa senior defensive backs Matt Hankins and Riley Moss were named semifinalists for the Jim Thorpe Award on Monday by the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame. The award is given to the best defensive back in college football.

Both are integral parts of the nation’s leader in team interceptions.

This season, Hankins has three interceptions and 25 tackles, including two fourth down plays to seal Iowa’s win over then-No. 4 Penn State. Following that game, he was named Big Ten Co-Defensive Player of the Week, the Rose Bowl Game Big Ten Conference Player of the Week, the Bronko Nagurski national Defensive Player of the Week, and the Thorpe Award Player of the Week.

He was also recently named a named a midseason first-team All-American by the Associated Press and, and a second team selection by The Athletic. Hankins has started 34 straight games for the Hawkeyes.

Moss is out with a knee injury right now, but is tied for second in the country and leads the Big Ten with four interceptions this season. Moss started this season off hot with a two pick-sixes off Michael Penix Jr. against Indiana.

Desmond King won the award in 2015, and was a semifinalist in 2016. Josh Jackson was a finalist in 2017.

The list is narrowed down to three finalists on Nov. 23, with the winner announced on Dec. 9.

Iowa is back in action this Saturday against Wisconsin in Madison.

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