June 17, 2013
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa senior linebackers Christian Kirksey and James Morris have been named to the 2013 College Football Performance Awards Defensive Watch List, the CFPA announced Monday. Kirksey and Morris each earned spots on the 2013 CFPA Linebacker Trophy Watch List.
Iowa is one of four programs (along with Alabama, Michigan State, and Stanford) to have multiple players named to the CFPA Linebacker Trophy Watch List.
“Congratulations to Christian Kirksey and James Morris on earning spots on the 2013 CFPA Defensive Awards Watch List,” said CFPA Executive Director Brad Smith. “Kirksey and Morris are highly productive linebackers who will likely pose both tactical and physical challenges to Big Ten opponents in 2013.”
Kirksey collected 95 tackles as a junior, ranking ninth in the conference in tackles per contest (7.5). The St. Louis, Mo., native ranked first in the Big Ten and second in the nation with four recovered fumbles. He was one of eight players in the nation with two interception returns for touchdowns in 2012. Kirksey was named a Permanent Team Captain and winner of the Next Man in Award in 2012. Kirksey has 211 career tackles.
Morris has been a starting linebacker for the Hawkeyes since his true freshman season in 2010. Last season he ranked third in the Big Ten and 31st in the nation in tackles per game (9.4). He ranks 16th in career tackles (293). He was named a Permanent Team Captain in 2012 while earning the Hayden Fry “Extra Heartbeat” Award and the Players Choice Award on defense. Morris earned honorable mention All-Big Ten honors as a sophomore and junior after being named Freshman All-America by CollegeFootballNews.com as a freshman.
Morris, a native of Solon, Iowa, earned CoSIDA/Capital One District VA Academic All-America honors in 2012 and is a two-time academic All-Big Ten honoree.
Kirksey and Morris join TE C.J. Fiedorowicz and RB Mark Weisman on the 2013 CFPA Watch Lists. Former Hawkeyes standout and current Tampa Bay Buccaneer Adrian Clayborn was named the 2009 CFPA National Defensive Performer of the Year.
All CFPA recipients are selected exclusively based upon objective scientific rankings of the extent to which individual players increase the overall effectiveness of their teams. All players are eligible for awards at their respective positions; players are not preemptively eliminated from consideration. More than 130 CFPA recipients have signed professional contracts, and twenty-one have been first-round NFL Draft selections.
The full list of 2013 CFPA recipients will be announced on January 8, 2014.