Iowa football’s Hankins named Jim Thorpe Award Defensive Player of the Week

The honor is Hankins’ fourth of the week.


Casey Stone

Iowa defensive back Matt Hankins and linebacker Jack Campbell celebrate a turnover during a football game between Iowa and Colorado State at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021. The Hawkeyes defeated the Rams 24-14.

Austin Hanson, Sports Editor

Iowa football’s Matt Hankins was named Jim Thorpe Award Defensive Player of the Week Thursday.

The Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame bestowed the honor upon Hankins following his five-tackle performance in then-No. 3 Iowa’s 23-20 victory over then-No. 4 Penn State at Kinnick Stadium Oct. 9.

Hankins recorded three of his tackles unassisted. The most important of Hankins’ solo stops came at the 3:39 mark in the fourth quarter. The Texan halted Nittany Lion running back Keyvone Lee on a fourth-and-three pass play to force a turnover and give the Hawkeyes possession of the football.

Penn State’s drive had reached the Iowa 45-yard line before Hankins made the tackle. A Nittany Lion field goal would’ve tied the game. A Nittany Lion touchdown would’ve given Penn State the lead.

The next time the Nittany Lions possessed the football, Hankins picked off a pass thrown by backup quarterback Ta’Quan Roberson.

Hankins’ efforts last weekend also helped him win the Big Ten Conference’s Defensive Player of the Week Award, The Rose Bowl Game’s Big Ten Conference Player of the Week Award, and the Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week Award.

Hankins has started 33 games at cornerback in the Black and Gold — the last 22 of which have come consecutively.

He’s registered 188 tackles and six interceptions in his five-year Hawkeye career.

Hankins and the Hawkeyes will hit the gridiron again this Saturday to take on Purdue at Kinnick Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Iowa will celebrate Homecoming during the contest. The game will air live on ABC.

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