LaPorta Named B1G Tight End of the Year

IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa senior tight end Sam LaPorta has been named the Kwalick-Clark Big Ten Tight End of the Year to highlight Iowa’s offensive honors on the all-conference teams. The Big Ten announced the offensive awards Wednesday.

LaPorta earned first-team All-Big Ten honors from both league coaches and media after being named third team as a junior. LaPorta is also one of three tight ends named as finalists for the John Mackey Award, which goes to the top tight end in the nation.

True freshman running back Kaleb Johnson earned honorable mention recognition from both coaches and media, while sophomore offensive lineman Mason Richman earned honorable mention honors from Big Ten coaches.

LaPorta leads Iowa in both receptions and receiving yards, totaling 53 receptions for 601 yards and a touchdown. LaPorta was injured in the first quarter of the win at Minnesota and did not play against Nebraska.

LaPorta’s career totals include 148 receptions for 1,730 yards to rank 15th in career receiving yards. Among tight ends, LaPorta ranks first in career receptions and second to Marv Cook in receiving yards.

Johnson leads the team in rushing with 142 attempts for 762 yards and six touchdowns. Johnson’s yardage establishes a freshman record for rushing yards and he surpassed 100 rushing yards in three games.

Johnson was named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week and Freshman of the Week following his performance in Iowa’s road win at Purdue. Johnson rushed 22 times for 200 yards at Purdue, including a 75-yard touchdown run. He also surpassed 100 rushing yards vs. Nevada and Nebraska. Johnson also averaged 25 yards on 13 kickoff returns.

Richman started all 12 games at left tackle as the veteran among Iowa’s young offensive line. He has 21 career starts, all at left tackle. He saw action in three games as a true freshman in 2020 and was still able to redshirt.

Senior defensive back Kaevon Merriweather, who earned honorable mention recognition from both coaches and media, was named Iowa’s Sportsmanship Award recipient.

Merriweather, a senior, has started every game and ranks second on the team with three interceptions. He has 47 tackles and scored a defensive touchdown with a fumble return in Iowa’s win at Rutgers. He was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week for his play against the Scarlet Knights.

Iowa (7-5, 5-4) will find out its bowl destination on Sunday. The Hawkeyes are expecting their 20th bowl invite over the past 24 seasons under Moon Family head football coach Kirk Ferentz.