July 15, 2011
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — Two members of the University of Iowa football team have been named to national award watch lists. Senior linebacker Tyler Nielsen is on the Butkus Award watch list and sophomore running back Marcus Coker is on the Doak Walker Award watch list.
The Butkus Award, in its 27th year, is presented annually to the top linebacker in the country. Semi-finalists will be named Oct. 24, finalists Nov. 22, and winners will be notified Dec. 7.
Nielsen (6-4, 235) was named to Phil Steele’s preseason All-Big Ten fourth team earlier this summer. A three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection, he started all eight games in which he played before an injury in 2010. Nielsen recorded 22 solo tackles and 20 assists, along with 4.5 tackles for loss, four pass break-ups and one interception. He was named to the ESPN/CoSIDA District Seven Academic All-America team.
The Doak Walker Award, in its 22nd year, is presented each year to the nation’s top college running back. Ten semifinalists will be announced Nov. 11 and the recipient will be named Dec. 8 live on ESPN. Former Hawkeye All-American Shonn Greene won the Doak Walker Award in 2008.
Coker, who hails from Beltsville, Md., was named to Phil Steele’s Preseason All-Big Ten third team earlier this summer in addition to the Maxwell Award watch list (America’s outstanding collegiate football player). As a freshman in 2010, he accumulated 622 yards and three touchdowns on 114 carries. Coker was named Offensive Player of the Game in Iowa’s 27-24 Insight Bowl win over Missouri. He set Iowa bowl records for rushing attempts (33) and rushing yards (219).
Iowa opens its 2011 season against Tennessee Tech on Sept. 3 at Kinnick Stadium. Kickoff is 11 a.m., CT (BTN HD).