IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa senior linebacker Josey Jewell and senior offensive lineman Sean Welsh, both named to the first team, highlight the list of Hawkeyes named to the Athlon Sports preseason All-Big Ten teams announced Wednesday.
In addition to Jewell and Welsh on the first team, Athlon named running back Akrum Wadley and center James Daniels to the second team, and defensive end Anthony Nelson to the third team. Fourth team recognition was extended to wide receiver Matt VandeBerg, offensive lineman Boone Myers, defensive lineman Nathan Bazata, linebacker Ben Niemann and defensive back Manny Rugamba.
Jewell (6-foot-2, 236 pounds) has previously been named to the Lott IMPACT Trophy preseason Watch List. Jewell has earned second team All-Big Ten honors in each of the past two seasons after leading the Hawkeyes in tackles both seasons. He ranks 18th in career tackles with 301 and has started 30 consecutive games over the past three seasons. He is a native of Decorah, Iowa.
Welsh (6-3, 295) has been a dependable and versatile member of Iowa’s offensive line over the past three seasons, playing both guard and tackle positions. The native of Springboro, Ohio, has started 35 games as he prepares for his senior season. He was named second team All-America by USA Today in 2016.
Wadley (5-11, 195) is a native of Newark, New Jersey. He led the Hawkeyes in rushing a year ago with 1,081 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also was second in receiving with 36 receptions for 315 yards and three scores. Wadley enters his senior season ranked 18th in career rushing yards (1,763), with nine career games over 100 yards.
Daniels (6-4, 295) is a junior who started at center in all 11 games in which he played in 2016, missing two games due to injury. He was named a first team Sophomore All-American by Campus Insiders last season and earlier this week was named to the Rimington Award preseason Watch List. He is a native of Warren, Ohio.
Nelson (6-7, 253) is a native of Urbandale, Iowa, who improved throughout last season as a redshirt freshman. Nelson recorded 33 tackles, including eight tackles for loss and five sacks. He was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week in his first career game.
VandeBerg (6-1, 190), returns for his final season after playing in just four games last season due to injury. He led the team in receiving (19-284-3 TDs) through four games. His career totals include 106 receptions for 1,302 yards and eight touchdowns. He is a native of Brandon, South Dakota.
Myers (6-5, 305) is a native of Webster City, Iowa, and the third member of the offensive line to be recognized. Myers started all 12 games in which he played last season and has 22 career starts while playing both guard and tackle.
Bazata (6-2, 285) is a senior from Howells, Nebraska. Despite being hampered by injury late last season he still recorded 39 tackles while starting 10 games. Bazata has earned 24 career starts and was honorable mention All-Big Ten a year ago.
Niemann (6-3, 230) has been in the line-up since his first season on campus. The native of Sycamore, Illinois, has totaled 27 career starts. Niemann has 121 career tackles after starting all 13 games last season. He earned honorable mention All-Big Ten recognition as a sophomore in 2015.
Rugamba (6-0, 172) saw action as a true freshman last season and started the final three regular season games. The Naperville, Illinois, native moved into the starting line-up in November and recorded 12 tackles before being injured early in the win over Nebraska. Rugamba played a key role in Iowa’s upset win over second-ranked Michigan, recording a fourth-quarter interception that led to Iowa’s game-winning field goal.
Iowa opens the 2017 season Sept. 2, hosting Wyoming in the first of seven home games in Kinnick Stadium.