IOWA CITY, Iowa — FourUniversity of Iowa football players were named to midseason All-America teams on Wednesday: senior defensive back Sebastian Castro, junior defensive back Cooper DeJean, senior linebacker Jay Higgins and senior punter Tory Taylor. DeJean, Higgins and Taylor were recognized by multiple outlets.
DeJean was recognized as a first team honoree by the Associated Press, The Athletic and FOX. He was named to ESPN’s first team on Tuesday.
DeJean is fourth on the Hawkeyes with 36 tackles, he has 1.5 tackles for loss, two pass break-ups and two interceptions, including one in the end zone against Michigan State. He has played 309 snaps this season in coverage without giving up a touchdown.
The Odebolt, Iowa, native is leading the Big Ten and ranks 13th nationally with a 13.0 punt return average and he is one of 29 players in the country with a punt return touchdown. DeJean returned a punt 70 yards for a game-deciding score against Michigan State late in the fourth quarter.
Higgins earned first-team accolades by FOX and the Sporting News and second-team laurels by the Associated Press.
Higgins leads the Big Ten and ranks second nationally (the most by a Power 5 player) with 12.4 tackles per game. He has two 15+ and five 10+ tackle games this season.
The Indianapolis native has 55 tackles in four Big Ten games, averaging 13.8 tackles per contest. Higgins had 18 tackles at Penn State, tied for the second-most in a game this season and the most by a Hawkeye since Jack Campbell in 2021.
Taylor was recognized as a first team honoree by the Associated Press, CBS, The Athletic and FOX. He was tabbed to ESPN’s first team yesterday.
Taylor, an Australia native, has punted an FBS-best 45 times this season with only one touchback. He ranks first in the conference and fourth in the country in average yards per punt (48.3). Nineteen of his 45 punts have been for 50+ yards, including six of 60+ yards, while 17 have been downed inside the 20, eight inside the 10 and five inside the 5.
Taylor has earned Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week honors each of the last two weeks and has been included in Ray’s 8, which recognizes top punting performances nationally, four of the first six weeks of 2023. He was previously named to ESPN’s midseason All-America team.
Castro was recognized as a second team honoree by the Associated Press.
The native of Oak Lawn, Illinois, ranks first on the team in interceptions (3) and pass press break-ups (3), second in tackles for loss (5) and sixth in total tackles (30). Castro’s 30-yard pick-six at in-state rival Iowa State proved to be the winning score. His efforts in the win over the Cyclones earned the senior Big Ten Player of the Week accolades. Castro had an interception and helped force a defensive safety in the fourth quarter to help preserve Iowa’s road win at Wisconsin on Oct. 14.
HAWKEYE PLAYERS NAMED MIDSEASON FIRST-TEAM ALL-AMERICA
Cooper DeJean: Associated Press, ESPN, The Athletic, FOX
Jay Higgins: FOX, Sporting News
Tory Taylor: Associated Press, ESPN, Sporting News, CBS, The Athletic, FOX
HAWKEYE PLAYERS NAMED MIDSEASON SECOND-TEAM ALL-AMERICA
Sebastian Castro: Associated Press
Jay Higgins: Associated Press
No. 24 Iowa (6-1, 3-1) will host Minnesota (3-3, 1-2) on Saturday on Duke Slater Field at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City (2:33 p.m. CT, NBC).