IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa junior linebacker Josey Jewell and senior defensive back Desmond King were named to the 2016 Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List. The announcement was made Friday by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA). Jewell and King are two of 88 Division I players nominated for the award, which is presented annually to the best defensive player in college football.
Jewell (6-foot-2, 230-pounds) started all 14 games at middle linebacker last season, anchoring a Hawkeye defense that allowed 11 rushing touchdowns, the seventh lowest total in the country, and yielded an average of 121.4 rushing yards per game, ranking 15th nationally. Jewell led Iowa in tackles with 126 total tackles, including 62 solo stops and three sacks. His four interceptions ranked second on the team, while his 7.5 tackles for loss tied for second best.
Following last year’s breakout season, Jewell garnered second team All-Big Ten honors by league coaches and media, Associated Press, and Phil Steele. The Decorah, Iowa, native has garnered preseason third team All-America and second team All-Big Ten recognition by Athlon Sports.
King (5-foot-11, 200-pounds) started all 14 games at cornerback a year ago, tying the Iowa single-season record and ranking second in the country with eight interceptions, while recording 72 tackles and a team-high 13 pass breakups. He also handled the majority of punt returns and kickoff returns last season, averaging 14.2 yards on 17 punt returns and 24.4 yards on 29 kickoff returns.
The Detroit, Michigan, native was named a unanimous consensus All-American, a recipient of the Jim Thorpe award — given to the nation’s top cornerback — and a recipient of the Jack Tatum Award in 2015. In addition, King was named one of five finalists for the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award, named the Tatum-Woodson Big Ten Conference Defensive Back of the Year, and was voted first team All-Big Ten by Walter Camp, Associated Press, AFCA, FWAA, Sporting News, USA Today, SI.com, ESPN.com, Athlon Spots, ProFootballFocus.com, Phil Steele, and College Sports Madness.
Friday’s honor comes two days after King was named to the Bednarik Award Watch List, which is presented annually to the College Defensive Player of the Year. Athlon Sports listed King as a preseason first team All-America and All-Big Ten, preseason second team All-Big Ten (punt returns), and preseason third team All-Big Ten (kickoff returns).
The FWAA will announce a Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week throughout the season and, in conjunction with the Charlotte Touchdown Club, announce five finalists for the 2016 Bronko Nagurski Trophy on Nov. 17. The winner will be announced Dec. 5 at the Bronko Nagurski Trophy Banquet in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Iowa opens the 2016 season at home on Sept. 3, hosting Miami (Ohio) inside Kinnick Stadium. Tickets are available for purchase by contacting the UI Athletic Ticket Office at (800) IA-HAWKS and online at hawkeyesports.com.