IOWA CITY, Iowa — Three University of Iowa football players have been named Walter Camp All-Americans on Friday. Junior Cooper DeJean and senior Tory Taylor are first team honorees, while senior Jay Higgins is a second team selection.
Walter Camp, the nation’s oldest college football All-America team, is one of five outlets recognized by the NCAA to determine consensus All-Americans (Football Writers Association of America, Associated Press, Sporting News, Associated Press).
DeJean was one of top defensive players in the nation before going down with a season-ending injury in Week 12. The Odebolt, Iowa, native finished the season with 41 tackles, two TFL, two interceptions and five pass breakups in 10 games. DeJean did not allow a touchdown pass in 388 snaps in coverage in 2023.
As a punt returner, DeJean was one of the nation’s best. He had a 70-yard punt return for a game-winning touchdown against Michigan State and he had a second touchdown return for the game-winning score negated because of an “invaild fair catch signal” against Minnesota. DeJean is second in the Big Ten and ranks 14th nationally, averaging 11.5 yards per return.
Earlier this week, DeJean was tabbed first-team All-America by CBS, Sports Illustrated and The Athletic. DeJean was a finalist for the Jim Thorpe and Bronko Nagurski awards and was a semifinalist for the Lott IMPACT Trophy. He was previously named the Tatum-Woodson Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year and the Rodgers-Dwight Big Ten Return Specialist of the Year last month. DeJean is also a first-team all-conference honoree by the Associated Press and league coaches and media.
Taylor broke Iowa’s single season punting yardage record for a third consecutive season. He has an NCAA-best 86 punts for 4,119 yards with his 47.9 average leading the Big Ten and ranking third nationally. Thirty-six of his punts have traveled 50+ yards (six punts of 60+), 27 have been fair caught, 30 have been downed inside the 20, 11 inside the 10 and six inside the 5. The Australia native only has six touchbacks and opponents average just 8.8 yards per return. He has 288 punts for 13,297 yards — both school records — and his 46.2 career average will break Jason Baker’s mark come season’s end.
Earlier Friday evening, Taylor was named the 2023 Ray Guy Award recipient, presented to the nation’s top punter. He was also selected as first-team All-America by CBS (unanimous), Sports Illustrated and The Athletic. Taylor was previously tabbed the Eddleman-Field Big Ten Punter of the Year and first-team all-conference by the Associated Press and league coaches and media.
Higgins has been a tackling machine for Iowa’s defense, racking up 155 tackles — the most in the Big Ten, the third-most nationally (most by a Power 5 player) and the fourth-most in a single season in school history. The Indianapolis native has led the team in tackles in 11 of 13 games with two 15+ tackle games and nine games with 10 or more stops. He has been a leader on an Iowa defense that is fourth nationally, allowing 13.2 points per game.
Earlier this week, Higgins was recognized as a first-team All-American by CBS and Sports Illustrated. He is also a first-team All-Big Ten honoree by the Associated Press and conference coaches and media.
The No. 17 Hawkeyes will play No. 21 Tennessee on Jan. 1, 2024, in the Cheez-It Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Florida. The game will start at noon (CT) and will be televised on ABC.
Iowa Postseason National Honors
SEBASTIAN CASTRO: Pro Football Focus (first-team All-America)
COOPER DEJEAN: Walter Camp, The Athletic, Sports Illustrated, CBS (first-team All-America)
JAY HIGGINS: Sports Illustrated (first-team All-America); CBS (second-team All-America)
PHIL PARKER: Broyles Award
TORY TAYLOR: Walter Camp, The Athletic, CBS, Pro Football Focus, Sports Illustrated (first-team All-America); Ray Guy Punter of the Year Award