Iowa football’s Jack Campbell named Big Ten Defensive Player, Linebacker of the Year

The senior, who led the Hawkeyes with 118 tackles, earned both honors from the conference on Tuesday.


Jerod Ringwald

Iowa linebacker Jack Campbell intercepts a pass during a football game between Iowa and Minnesota at Huntington Bank Stadium in Minneapolis on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022. Campbell returned the ball to the end zone. Officials later determined Campbell stepped out of bounds on the return. The Hawkeyes defeated the Gophers, 13-10.

Chloe Peterson, Sports Editor

Iowa football linebacker Jack Campbell has been named the Big Ten’s Nagurski-Woodson Defensive Player of the Year and Butkus-Fitzgerald Linebacker of the Year, the conference announced Tuesday.

Campbell led the Hawkeyes with 118 tackles in 12 regular season games. He also recorded two interceptions. The senior was one of four Hawkeye captains this season, taking on the role alongside defensive backs Riley Moss and Kaevon Merriweather and tight end Sam LaPorta.

Campbell is also a finalist for the Dick Butkus Award and the William V. Campbell Trophy. The Butkus Award annually honors the nation’s top linebacker, while the Campbell Trophy — nicknamed the “Academic Heisman” — takes academics, community service, and on-field performance into account when naming the nation’s best player.

Campbell is the third Hawkeye in six seasons to be named conference defensive player of the year. Former Iowa linebacker Josey Jewell took home the honor in 2017, while defensive lineman Daviyon Nixon won in 2020. Campbell is also the second linebacker in the Kirk Ferentz era to receive the Butkus-Fitzgerald award — Jewell won it in 2017.

Along with his conference awards, Campbell was named first-team All-Big Ten by coaches and media. Moss, who was the Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year in 2021, received 2022 first-team All-Big Ten honors by coaches and second-team by media.

Cornerback Cooper DeJean led the Hawkeyes with four interceptions, including two pick sixes, this season and was honored as a first-team All-Big Ten selection by media and second-team by coaches. He also recorded 68 tackles. DeJean was injured in the first quarter of Iowa’s game against Nebraska on Nov. 25 and sat out the remainder of the contest.

Linebacker Seth Benson, who was second on the Hawkeye roster with 88 tackles, and Lukas Van Ness, who tied for the team lead with six sacks, both earned second-team all-conference honors by coaches and media.

Joe Evans also recorded six sacks on the season and garnered second-team all-conference honors by media and an honorable mention from coaches. Merriweather and defensive tackles Logan Lee and Noah Shannon all earned honorable mention spots from coaches and media.

The conference also released special teams honors on Tuesday. Kicker Drew Stevens earned second-team All-Big Ten honors by media and third-team by coaches, while punter Tory Taylor was on the media first-team and coaches third-team.

Stevens, a true freshman walk-on, went 16-of-18 on field goal attempts and did not miss an extra point through the course of the season. He also converted a career-long 54-yard field goal, which ranks seventh in Iowa program history.

Taylor averaged 45.1 yards on 75 boots this season. His opponents averaged 3.7 yards on only 18 returns. He downed 32 punts inside the 20-yard line.

The Big Ten plans to announce offensive awards on Wednesday.

LaPorta a finalist for Mackey Award

The Friends of John Mackey announced Tuesday that LaPorta is one of three finalists for the Mackey award, which goes to the nation’s top tight end.

Notre Dame’s Michael Meyer and Georgia’s Brock Bowers are the other two finalists for the award.

LaPorta played in 11 of the Hawkeyes’ 12 regular season games. He was injured in Iowa’s game against Minnesota on Nov. 19 and was ruled out of the Hawkeyes’ contest against Nebraska. The 6-foot-4, 249-pounder led Iowa this season with 53 receptions and 601 total yards. He also recorded one touchdown.

LaPorta’s single-game season high was 101 yards in Iowa’s 9-6 loss to Illinois on Oct. 8.

The Hawkeye football program has two Mackey Award winners. Dallas Clark received the honor in 2002, while T.J. Hockenson won in 2018.