With the college football regular season officially over (except for that strange USC-Cal game that will actually be the last game on Saturday evening), awards season is officially upon us. While most of the national awards are still narrowing things down, the Big Ten Conference began announcing several individual awards and the All-Big Ten teams for defense and special teams on Tuesday. The Iowa Hawkeyes were well represented.
Senior cornerback Riley Moss was named the Big Ten Conference Tatum-Woodson Defensive Back of the Year after an incredible senior season for the Hawkeyes. Moss finished 11th nationally with four interceptions (ten players, including Iowa’s Dane Belton are tied for first with five interceptions) despite missing three and a half games due to a knee injury sustained on an interception against then #4 Penn State.
Moss had two interceptions returned for a touchdown in Iowa’s season opening win over Indiana. The two pick-sixes lead the nation. Moss also added a fumble recovery, five passes defended and 31 total tackles in nine game this season.
Moss becomes the fifth Hawkeye to earn the award - all in the last ten years - with Amani Hooker most recently being honored in 2019.
Riley Moss wasn’t the only Hawkeye to bring home some hardware. Iowa receiver Charlie Jones was named the Big Ten Rodgers-Dwight Return Specialist of the Year on Tuesday as well.
Jones is second nationally and first in the Big Ten in kick return yards at 605, including a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in Iowa’s win over Illinois. He also led the Big Ten in punt return yards (288) and was 23rd nationally (2nd in the Big Ten) in average punt return yards at 8.5 yards per return.
Jones is the second Hawkeye to earn specialist of the year honors, following Ihmir Smith-Marsette who won the award in 2018.
Beyond the individual awards, eleven Hawkeyes in total earned All-Big Ten honors on Tuesday. Defensive backs Riley Moss and Dane Belton were named first team All-Big Ten by both the coaches and the media. As noted, Belton leads the nation with five interceptions while also adding 41 tackles, including 4 tackles for loss.
Linebacker Jack Campbell was named first team All-Big Ten by the media and third team by the coaches. He’s second in the conference with 124 total tackles, including 5 tackles for loss. He also has six pass break ups, two fumble recoveries and one caused fumble.
Defensive end Zach VanValkenburg and cornerback Matt Hankins were each named to the second team by the coaches and media. VanValkenburg has accumulated 48 total tackles, including 14 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. Hankins ranks third on the team with three interceptions to go with 44 tackles and five pass break ups.
Safety Jack Koerner, defensive tackle Noah Shannon and linebacker Seth Benson were each named honorable mention All-Big Ten. Koerner had two interceptions and two pass break ups in the regular season, as well as 76 total tackles, including 3 tackles for loss. Shannon finished with 39 total tackles, 3 hurries and 1 sack. Benson finished with 89 total tackles and 6 hurries, as well as an interception.
Here’s a look at the full list of selections.
On special teams, the aforementioned Jones was named to the first team by both the coaches and media as a return specialist. Kicker Caleb Shudak was named first team All-Big Ten by the media and second team by the coaches. Shudak went 22/25 on field goals this season while being perfect on extra points. His season long was 51 yards while hitting 4 of 6 on attempts over 50 yards.
Punter Tory Taylor was named honorable mention All-Big Ten. He ranks 16th nationally and 4th in the Big Ten in punting with an average of 45.8 yards per punt on his 69 punts. His season long was a very nice 69 yards.
Here’s a look at the full list of honorees on special teams.
Other awards handed out today include the defensive player of the year, which went to Michigan defensive end Aiden Hutchinson, and coach of the year, which was given to Michigan State’s Mel Tucker.
The Big Ten is set to announce the offensive All-Big Ten team on Wednesday. Iowa continues their 2021 season with a showdown against #2 Michigan in the Big Ten Championship Game on Saturday at 7pm.