Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide. To receive daily news from the Iowa Hawkeyes, sign up HERE.
“It’s an honor to be up here with these guys, amazing players. Not only players, but amazing people in their community and what they do for people who don’t have as much. It’s an honor to be with them and thanks to all the families here today, the Pacific Club, Ronnie Lott, my family for what they have done for me and the man they have made me. It is not possible without them and how they raised me. The coaches and the players who have been beside me from my childhood and now at the University of Iowa. This award is a culmination of all those people. Thank you.”
— Josey Jewell’s Lott IMPACT Trophy acceptance speech
By DARREN MILLER
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — Character counts. So do 426 career tackles.
University of Iowa senior linebacker Josey Jewell combined integrity, maturity, performance, academics, community service, and tenacity to earn the 2017 Lott IMPACT Trophy that was presented Dec. 10 at the Pacific Club. Other finalists were Minkah Fitzpatrick of Alabama, Micah Kiser of Virginia, and Harrison Phillips of Stanford.
Jewell was also a finalist for the Bronko Nagurski Award presented to the nation’s best defensive player, but that went to North Carolina State’s Brandon Chubb on Dec. 4 in Charlotte, North Carolina.
“The other awards are based on all your football performance, this one involves your character,” said Jewell, who shines in the classroom as an Academic All-Big Ten selection. “Character counts and it counts in academics, social life, and puts everything together as a person. It is not just how you play, but how you act and give back to the community, which is awesome.”
This is the 14th time the award has been bestowed, honoring college football’s best in character and performance. Former Hawkeye James Morris was a finalist in 2013.
Jewell was accompanied to Newport Beach by his parents, Paula and Bobby, and his fiancée, Micole.
“My dad and mom showed me the way and how to do the small things right,” Jewell said. “To be trustworthy and honest, like others have done at the University of Iowa — Chad Greenway, Pat Angerer. The guys who have been good players here have done things the right way.”
Like Jewell, Greenway and Angerer are both linebacker greats for the Hawkeyes. Greenway played at Iowa from 2002-05 and recently concluded a 10-year NFL career with Minnesota. Angerer lettered three seasons for the Hawkeyes (2006, 2008-09) and played five seasons in the NFL.
While Jewell was personally accepting hardware in California, he was simultaneously collecting awards at the Iowa football banquet in the Coralville Marriott Hotel and Convention Center. Jewell was named permanent team captain for an unprecedented third consecutive time, defensive MVP, Hayden Fry Extra Heartbeat, and Iron Hawk.
“That is a testament to the coaching staff and the players that came before me,” Jewell said of becoming the school’s first three-time captain. “We had James Morris, Christian Kirksey, and Hitch (Anthony Hitchens) before us and showing us leadership. They made Ben (Niemann), Bo (Bower), and I understand how to be effective leaders.
“It’s not all by what you say, it’s your examples and what you portray out there — it’s about the guys who came before us, including (fellow Decorah, Iowa, native) Brett Van Sloten. He was close to me and taught me how to lead and do it the right way.”
The day after receiving the Lott IMPACT Trophy, Jewell was named to All-America teams by the Football Writers Association of America and The Associated Press, joining defensive teammate Joshua Jackson as consensus All-Americans.
Twice this season, Jewell was named the Lott IMPACT Trophy Player of the Week. The Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation will present a $25,000 check to the general scholarship fund at Iowa in recognition of Jewell’s achievement.
Iowa (7-5 overall) takes on Boston College (7-5) in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl on Dec. 27 in Yankee Stadium in New York, New York. Now that the awards circuit has slowed, Jewell can focus on what he does best — play football.
“These (awards shows) are cool, but now I want to sit down and get to Boston College and look at what we have ahead of us and understand how we can come out with a win,” Jewell said. “We haven’t won a bowl game in a while. It is important, especially for all us seniors.”