Former Hawkeye Hockenson breaks NFL record in debut

In the first game of his NFL career, T.J. Hockenson set the league record for most receiving yards by a tight end in his debut.


Nick Rohlman

Iowa tight end T.J. Hockenson runs after making a catch during Iowa’s game against Minnesota at TCF Bank Stadium on Saturday, October 6, 2018. The Hawkeyes defeated the Golden Gophers 48-31.

Robert Read, Assistant Sports Editor

Former Iowa and current Detroit Lions tight end T.J. Hockenson is immediately making those who doubted his draft status regret it.

Hockenson set the NFL record for most receiving yards in a tight end’s first game with 131 yards in his debut. The former Hawkeye broke 49ers tight end Monty Stickles’ previous record of 123 receiving yards, which he set in 1960.

The Lions made Hockenson their first-round draft pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Hockenson was selected eight overall and was the first player at his position to be drafted.

Hockenson tallied 6 receptions to accumulate those yards in the Lions’ matchup against the Arizona Cardinals. One of those catches came at the beginning of the fourth quarter when Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford scrambled and found an open Hockenson in the end zone for the first touchdown of the young tight end’s career.

The Chariton, Iowa, native is only the second player in franchise history to surpass 100 receiving yards in his NFL debut, joining wide receiver Earl McCullouch.

Hockenson’s 131 receiving yards are the fourth most by a Lions tight end in franchise history and the most since tight end Charlie Sanders posted 146 yards in 1974.

Hockenson and the Lions tied the Cardinals 27-27 in Week 1 and will face the Los Angeles Chargers next week.