Jack Campbell

Robert Read, Pregame Editor

Jack Campbell’s announcement that would return to the Iowa football team for his senior season rather than declare for the NFL Draft wasn’t necessarily surprising — at least not as surprising as his teammate Riley Moss doing the same thing.

Of all the players coming back for a final season as a Hawkeye (Moss, Sam LaPorta, Charlie Jones, etc.), Campbell’s decision will be the most beneficial to Iowa in 2022. Why is that? Let me take things a step further.

Campbell will be a first-team All-American at linebacker next season. Book it.

As a junior, Campbell finally got a full season to show off his sideline-to-sideline quickness, ability to close on the ball, and all the other attributes that make him such a force as Iowa’s defensive leader.

The first-team All-Big Ten performer led the nation in tackles last season (143), while also posting two interceptions, a forced fumble, two recoveries, and a couple of touchdowns. Not bad at all. And this upcoming season, he should be right in the middle (along with Seth Benson and Jestin Jacobs) of what could be the best linebacking corps at Iowa under Kirk Ferentz. And that’s saying something.

Despite losing three starters in the secondary and its best defensive lineman, Iowa’s defense should start off 2022 right where it left off at the end of the 2021 season. Why is that? Well, partially because the Hawkeyes have their elite middle linebacker back and better than ever for one final season.

Big Ten offenses, beware.