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Iowa Football: Eleven Hawkeyes Named to Athlon’s Preseason All-Big Ten Team

Tyler Goodson and Tyler Linderbaum headline a long list of Hawkeyes expected to have a strong 2021 campaign.

Iowa v Purdue
Tyler Goodson is still expected to be good.
Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

We’re less than one week away from beginning our countdown to kickoff, which means we’re just over 100 days away from the first college football games of the 2021 season. While we’re about to enter the summer months with more than three months until the season officially kicks off, we’ve got something resembling some actual football news this week.

That is, Athlon Sports is out with a couple of preseason items this week. The first is their preseason top-25, which includes mini previews for all teams making the cut. The Hawkeyes come in at #16 in the preseason ranks, one spot below their final CFP ranking at the end of 2020. It’s worth noting, this is not where Athlon sees things entering the season, but where they expect things to shake out at the end of next season.

That’s a solid finish given what the Hawkeyes lose from last year’s team. According to Athlon, it would be good enough to finish 2nd in the West and 3rd overall in the conference. Ohio State is expected to lead the conference, naturally, coming in at 4th in this preseason ranking. Wisconsin is just ahead of Iowa at 13th nationally. Penn State comes in at #19 while Iowa’s week one opponent, Indiana, is ranked 21st. No other Big Ten teams are ranked. Iowa’s week two opponent, Iowa State, is ranked 7th.

So what is Athlon saying about the Hawkeyes? Have a look:

16. Iowa

After an 0-2 start last year, the Hawkeyes finished the season with six consecutive victories, including a 41-21 defeat of Penn State and a 28-7 victory over Wisconsin. Building off that strong finish is going to require a quick reload along the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, and quarterback Spencer Petras to take a step forward in his second year as the starter. Running back Tyler Goodson is poised to challenge for All-America honors after rushing for 762 yards and seven touchdowns in eight games last fall, while tight end Sam LaPorta and receivers Nico Ragaini and Tyrone Tracy headline a solid group of pass catchers. Center Tyler Linderbaum is set to anchor the rebuilt front. Replacing the production of Daviyon Nixon, Chauncey Golston and Jack Heflin up front won’t be easy. However, Noah Shannon, Yahya Black, Joe Evans and Zach VanValkenburg are just a few of the players poised to emerge with more snaps. The linebackers and secondary rank among the best in the conference after helping Iowa’s defense lead the Big Ten in fewest yards per play (4.34) allowed last fall. The Hawkeyes won’t be able to ease into the season with matchups versus Indiana and at Iowa State to start ’21. A late October road trip to Wisconsin might decide the division, while Penn State and Minnesota come to Iowa City.

Beyond the preseason rankings, Athlon also released their preseason All-Big Ten teams this week. As you might expect based on the rankings above, the Hawkeyes are well represented. Across four teams announced, Iowa is tied for second in the conference (with Wisconsin) with eleven total selections. Ohio State was the leader with 13 players chosen.

The Hawkeyes are led by All-American center Tyler Linderbaum and fellow 1st Team All-Big Ten selection from 2020 running back Tyler Goodson on the offensive side of the ball. Tory Taylor was named the first team punter while WR Charlie Jones was chosen as the 1st team punt returner. Interestingly, no Hawkeyes were named to the first team defense. Doubt Phil Parker at your own risk.

Iowa also had four players named to the second team. Offensive lineman Cody Ince was the lone representative on the offensive side of the ball. Parker’s squad made their hay here with three second team selections. That includes defensive end Zach VanValkenburg, corner Matt Hankins and safety Jack Koerner.

The Hawkeyes rounded things out with three third team selections. That included TE Sam LaPorta on the offensive side of the ball and linebacker Jack Campbell and corner Riley Moss on defense.

To recap Athlon has Iowa with four 1st Team All-Big Ten selections, four offensive players named to an All-Big Ten team, five defensive players and two specialists.

Here’s a look at the full selections from Athlon:

Big Ten Football 2021 All-Conference Team

First-Team Offense

QB Michael Penix, Indiana
RB Tyler Goodson, Iowa
RB Mohamed Ibrahim, Minnesota
AP/WR Jahan Dotson, Penn State
WR Chris Olave, Ohio State
WR Garrett Wilson, Ohio State
TE Jake Ferguson, Wisconsin
C Tyler Linderbaum, Iowa
OL Thayer Munford, Ohio State
OL Peter Skoronski, Northwestern
OL Nicholas Petit-Frere, Ohio State
OL Rasheed Walker, Penn State

First-Team Defense

DL Zach Harrison, Ohio State
DL Haskell Garrett, Ohio State
DL Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan
DL George Karlaftis, Purdue
LB Micah McFadden, Indiana
LB Olakunle Fatukasi, Rutgers
LB Jack Sanborn, Wisconsin
CB Tiawan Mullen, Indiana
CB Cam Taylor-Britt, Nebraska
S Jaquan Brisker, Penn State
S Brandon Joseph, Northwestern

First-Team Specialists

K Charles Campbell, Indiana
P Tory Taylor, Iowa
KR Aron Cruickshank, Rutgers
PR Charlie Jones, Iowa

Second-Team Offense

QB C.J. Stroud, Ohio State
RB Jalen Berger, Wisconsin
RB Master Teague, Ohio State
AP/RB Cam Porter, Northwestern
WR Ty Fryfogle, Indiana
WR David Bell, Purdue
TE Peyton Hendershot, Indiana
C John Michael Schmitz, Minnesota
OL Cody Ince, Iowa
OL Blaise Andres, Minnesota
OL Logan Bruss, Wisconsin
OL Mike Miranda, Penn State

Second-Team Defense

DL/LB Owen Carney, Illinois
DL Zach VanValkenburg, Iowa
DL Jacub Panasiuk, Michigan State
DL Tyreke Smith, Ohio State
LB Chris Bergin, Northwestern
LB Jake Hansen, Illinois
LB JoJo Domann, Nebraska
CB Matt Hankins, Iowa
CB Sevyn Banks, Ohio State
S Jack Koerner, Iowa
S Nick Cross, Maryland

Second-Team Specialists

K Connor Culp, Nebraska
P Adam Korsak, Rutgers
KR TJ Sheffield, Purdue
PR Jahan Dotson, Penn State

Third-Team Offense

QB Tanner Morgan, Minnesota
RB Noah Cain, Penn State
RB Hassan Haskins, Michigan
AP/WR Bo Melton, Rutgers
WR Dontay Demus, Maryland
WR Ronnie Bell, Michigan
WR Jalen Nailor, Michigan State
TE Sam LaPorta, Iowa
C Doug Kramer, Illinois
OL Alex Palczewski, Illinois
OL Andrew Stueber, Michigan
OL Harry Miller, Ohio State
OL Conner Olson, Minnesota

Third-Team Defense

DL Ben Stille, Nebraska
DL P.J. Mustipher, Penn State
DL Boye Mafe, Minnesota
DL Mike Tverdov, Rutgers
LB Leo Chenal, Wisconsin
LB Jack Campbell, Iowa
LB Brandon Smith, Penn State
CB Jaylin Williams, Indiana
CB Tariq Castro-Fields, Penn State
CB Riley Moss, Iowa
S Devon Matthews, Indiana
S Dax Hill, Michigan

Third-Team Specialists

K Matt Coghlin, Michigan State
P Blake Hayes, Illinois
KR Devin Chandler, Wisconsin
PR D.J. Matthews, Indiana

Fourth-Team Offense

QB Graham Mertz, Wisconsin
RB Chase Brown, Illinois
RB Isaih Pacheco, Rutgers
AP/RB Zander Horvath, Purdue
WR Rakim Jarrett, Maryland
WR Chris Autman-Bell, Minnesota
WR Parker Washington, Penn State
TE Jeremy Ruckert, Ohio State
C Sam Gerak, Northwestern
OL Jaelyn Duncan, Maryland
OL Caleb Jones, Indiana
OL Sam Schlueter, Minnesota
OL Tyler Beach, Wisconsin

Fourth-Team Defense

DL Mosiah Nasili-Kite, Maryland
DL Keeanu Benton, Wisconsin
DL Julius Turner, Rutgers
DL Adetomiwa Adebawore, Northwestern
DL Drew Beesley, Michigan State
LB Josh Ross, Michigan
LB Nick Herbig, Wisconsin
LB Teradja Mitchell, Ohio State
CB Tre Avery, Rutgers
CB Caesar Williams, Wisconsin
CB Cory Trice, Purdue
CB Tarheeb Still, Maryland
S Deontai Williams, Nebraska
S Christian Izien, Rutgers

Fourth-Team Specialists

K James McCourt, Illinois
P Brad Robbins, Michigan
KR Jayden Reed, Michigan State
PR Cam Taylor-Britt, Nebraska

Athlon didn’t ask us, but as nice as it is to have 11 players in the first three teams, this seems to be missing some names. Dane Belton, for example, seems like a lock to end up on an All-Big Ten team. It also feels like if Iowa has the top RB in the conference, they probably get more than two offensive linemen in the top-20 of the conference.

As noted above, not having a single Phil Parker-coached player on the 1st team defense seems like a set up for embarrassment. Here’s hoping that’s exactly what’s going on. It also seems like a second straight year without an Iowa tight end on the first or second team is unlikely. No disrespect to Ferguson or Hendershot.

Anything else look out of whack to you? Thoughts on the Hawkeyes at #16? There’s no way Iowa State could fall short of that top-10 ranking right?!?