IOWA CITY, Iowa – – University of Iowa junior defensive back Josh Jackson has been named the recipient of the 2017 Jack Tatum Award as the best defensive back in the nation. The award was announced Tuesday by the Touchdown Club of Columbus, and is named for the late Ohio State and NFL legend Jack Tatum.
Jackson (6-foot-1, 192-pounds), a native of Corinth, Texas (Lake Dallas), is tied as the national leader with seven interceptions. He leads the nation with 25 passes defended and is tied for second in interception return touchdowns (two), and pass break-ups (18). He ranks third in interception return yards (163). Jackson’s seven interceptions rank fourth best for a single season at Iowa, just one from tying Iowa’s single-season record (Desmond King, 2015; Lou King, 1981; Nile Kinnick, 1939).
Jackson tied Iowa’s school record with two interception returns for touchdowns (B.J. Lowery, 2013) at Wisconsin, covering 43 and 52 yards. The previous week, Jackson tied Iowa’s school record with three interceptions in Iowa’s 55-24 win over No. 3 Ohio State. Jackson also had a forced fumble at Wisconsin, and a blocked field goal in a win over North Texas. He has started all 12 games this season and recorded 47 tackles.
Jackson is one of three finalists for the Jim Thorpe Award, which is also awarded to the top defensive back in the nation. He was named the Walter Camp, Bednarik Award, and College Sports Madness national defensive Player of the Week for his play against Ohio State. He was named Big Ten Conference defensive Player of the Week in consecutive weeks following games against Ohio State and Wisconsin.
Jackson is the second Hawkeye in the past three seasons to earn the Jack Tatum Award. Former Hawkeye Desmond King earned the award in 2015, when he also received the Thorpe Award.
The Jack Tatum Award will be presented during the 63rd Touchdown Club of Columbus Awards on Saturday, Feb. 17.
Iowa (7-5) is bowl eligible for the 16th time in the last 17 seasons. Iowa’s bowl destination and opponent will be announced on Sunday.