Iowa cornerback Matt Hankins named Bronko Nagurski National Player of the Week

Hankins is the second Hawkeye to earn that honor this season.


Jerod Ringwald

Iowa defensive back Matt Hankins intercepts a pass during a football game between No. 3 Iowa and No. 4 Penn State at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021. The Hawkeyes defeated the Nittany Lions 23-20. (Jerod Ringwald/The Daily Iowan)

Robert Read, Pregame Editor

Iowa cornerback Matt Hankins has been named the Bronko Nagurski National Player of the Week for his performance in Iowa’s 23-20 win over Penn State. The senior had previously been named Big Ten Co-Defensive Player of the Week and the Rose Bowl Game Big Ten Conference Player of the Week.

Hankins picked off a pass and was credited with five tackles in Iowa’s 23-20 win over Penn State. The fifth-year starter’s pick game was Iowa’s fourth and final interception of the day. Hankins was credited with a solo tackle on a Penn State fourth-and-three attempt with 3:39 remaining, stopping a Nittany Lion drive that crossed midfield.

The 6-foot, 185-pounder then stopped Penn State’s next possession with an interception on fourth down, his third of the season. Hankins had two interceptions earlier this season in Iowa’s 27-17 win at then-No. 9 Iowa State.

Hankins has started 22 consecutive games and has 33 career starts. He returned in 2021 for a fifth season. He has totaled 188 career tackles and six career interceptions. He is part of an Iowa defense that has a nation-leading 16 interceptions through six games.

This is the fifth time a Hawkeye player has earned this weekly honor and the second time in just three weeks. Hawkeye junior linebacker Jack Campbell received the honor after Iowa’s 24-14 win over Colorado State on Sept. 25. Prior to that, Josey Jewell was the last Hawkeye to receive the honor in 2017. Iowa has had a Bronko Nagurski Trophy finalist in two of the last four seasons (Daviyon Nixon in 2020; Jewell in 2017).

Iowa celebrates Homecoming on Saturday, hosting Purdue (2:30 p.m., ABC). The contest is sold out.