Oct. 25, 2013
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — Karl Klug received plenty of accolades during his time on the University of Iowa football team, but to him, none stack up more than being honorary captain for Saturday’s game against Northwestern.
Klug, a defensive lineman from Caledonia, Minn., was named permanent team captain, defensive MVP, and second team All-Big Ten after his senior season in 2010. The Hawkeyes capped the 8-5 campaign with a 27-24 win against No. 12 Missouri in the Insight Bowl.
All those awards and memories are meaningful to Klug, but nothing compares to being named honorary captain.
“It’s a huge honor,” he said Friday after the Hawkeyes’ walk-thorough in the indoor practice facility. “I have had a couple honors while I was playing, but this one means the most to me. The fact coach (Kirk) Ferentz would want me to come back and talk to the team even though he knows how bad of a public speaker I am; the fact he still wanted me to come and talk and represent some alumni means a lot.”
Klug was taken in the fifth round of the 2011 NFL Draft by Tennessee. He has played 39 games for the Titans, compiling 34 tackles, 11 ½ sacks and five pass breakups. One of the main lessons Klug learned as a Hawkeye is to be punctual.
“Being on time and finding a routine the quickest way possible and stick with it,” he said. “That’s the easiest way to lead your life.”
A professional highlight for Klug came Sept. 29 — one day after his former team opened the Big Ten Conference season with a 23-7 win at Minnesota. Klug and the Titans were playing the Jets in Nashville, Tenn. New York attempted a screen pass, but quarterback Geno Smith got a little too fancy and fumbled the ball. Klug recovered in the end zone to put Tennessee up 31-6 in a game it won, 38-13.
“It was a lucky play,” Klug said. “(Smith) gave me a gift and I appreciate that he did it.”
At Iowa, Klug totaled 57 tackles as a senior, leading the Hawkeyes in both tackles for loss (13 for 67 yards) and quarterback sacks (5 ½ for 47). He earned the Iron Hawk Award and the Hayden Fry “Extra Heartbeat” Award in 2010. He compiled 140 career tackles, including 31 tackles for loss (126 yards) and 9.5 sacks.
Klug will accompany the Iowa captains to the center of the field for Saturday’s pregame coin toss. He will also be with the Hawkeyes in the locker room before and after the game, and on the sidelines during the contest.