IOWA CITY, Iowa — Two University of Iowa football players have been named to position watch lists on Thursday. Linebacker Nick Jackson was named to the Dick Butkus Award Watch List, while defensive back Cooper DeJean was named to the Jim Thorpe Award Watch List.
DICK BUTKUS AWARD
Presented annually, the Butkus Award goes to the nation’s most outstanding linebacker. Former Hawkeye Jack Campbell won the award last season in 2022 and was a semifinalist in 2021, while Josey Jewell was a finalist for the Butkus Award in 2016 and a semifinalist in 2017.
Jackson (6-foot-1, 234 pounds) will compete in his first year with the Hawkeyes this fall after transferring from the University of Virginia. The Hawkeye senior was named second-team All-ACC by the conference and Associated Press after leading the team in tackles (104) and quarterback hurries (4) and ranking second in sacks (5) a year ago. The Atlanta native was named Virginia’s defensive MVP following the 2022 campaign.
JIM THORPE AWARD
The Thorpe Award is awarded annually to the best defensive back in college football. Iowa’s Desmond King won the Thorpe Award in 2015 and was a semifinalist the following season. Josh Jackson was a finalist for the award in 2017, while Riley Moss was a semifinalist in 2021.
DeJean (6-foot-1, 209 pounds) was a first-team All-Big Ten selection by the media and second team by the coaches in 2022 after finishing with 75 tackles, five interceptions and eight pass breakups. He set Iowa’s single season record with three pick 6’s in 2022. He also averaged a team-best 16.5 yards on 10 punt returns a year ago.
Earlier this month, DeJean was named to the 2023 Bronko Nagurski Trophy (defensive player of the year) and Paul Hornung Award (versatility) watch lists. He is recognized on the Athlon Sports and Phil Steele 2023 preseason All-America second teams, as well as being voted to the Big Ten Conference Preseason Honors List and first-team All-Big Ten accolades by Phil Steele, Athlon Sports and Pro Football Focus.
The Odebolt, Iowa, native was voted the 2022 Music City Bowl Most Valuable Player after notching seven tackles (six solo), including one for loss, and notching a 14-yard pick-6 against Kentucky. DeJean was named the Rose Bowl Defensive Player of the Week versus Wisconsin (Nov. 12, 2022) after totaling 10 tackles (seven solo), including one for loss, and returning an interception 32 yards for a score. He was the recipient of Iowa’s Reggie Roby Special Teams Award (overall) and Team Hustle Award (defense) last season.
The Hawkeyes open their season on Sept. 2 against Utah State. The sold-out game is set for an 11 a.m. (CT) kickoff.
HAWKEYES ON 2023 WATCH LISTS
* Erick All – John Mackey Award (TE)
* Cooper DeJean – Bronko Nagurski Trophy (D-POY) // Jim Thorpe Award (DB) // Paul Hornung Award (versatility)
* Nick Jackson — Dick Butkus Award (LB)
* Kaleb Johnson – Doak Walker Award (RB)
* Logan Jones – Rimington Trophy (C)
* Luke Lachey – John Mackey Award (TE)
* Cade McNamara – Maxwell Award (POY)
* Drew Stevens – Lou Groza Award (PK)
* Tory Taylor – Ray Guy Award (P)