Jay Higgins Named Butkus Award Semifinalist

IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa senior Jay Higgins has been named a 2023 Dick Butkus Award semifinalist. The announcement was made on Monday by the Butkus Foundation.

Higgins is one of 12 semifinalists for the Butkus Award, presented to the nation’s most outstanding linebacker. He is one of three players from the Big Ten Conference on the list along with Ohio State’s Tommy Eichenberg and Penn State’s Curtis Jacobs.

Higgins leads the Big Ten and ranks second nationally (the most by a Power 5 player) with 12.6 tackles per game. He has two 15+ and seven 10+ tackle games this season.

The Indianapolis native has 81 tackles in six Big Ten games, averaging 13.5 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.

Campbell won the award 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.

Higgins was named a midseason first-team All-American last month by FOX and Sporting News and a second-team honoree by the Associated Press.

Teammate Cooper DeJean was named a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, presented to the best defensive back in college football, last week.

Iowa (7-2, 4-2) returns to action on Saturday against Rutgers (6-3, 3-3). Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. (CT) on Duke Slater Field at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City. The game will be televised on BTN and broadcast on the Hawkeye Radio Network.