4 Hawkeyes Garner Athlon Preseason All-America Honors

IOWA CITY, Iowa – Four University of Iowa football players have garnered Athlon preseason All-America honors for the 2024 season, it was announced Tuesday by the publication.

Fifth-year linebacker Jay Higgins was named to the first team, sixth-year linebacker Nick Jackson was a second team selection, center Logan Jones was a third-team honoree and defensive back Sebastian Castro was a fourth-team selection.

The Hawkeyes also had 14 players earn preseason All-Big Ten recognition by Athlon. Higgins, Jackson and Jones were first-team selections, senior Luke Lachey (tight end), senior Connor Colby (guard), senior Yahya Black (defensive tackle), graduate Quinn Schulte (defensive back) and Castro were second-team honorees, senior Deontae Craig (defensive end) and junior Xavier Nwankpa (defensive back) were tabbed as third-teamers and senior Leshon Williams (running back), senior Mason Richman (offensive tackle), graduate Jermari Harris (defensive back) and junior Drew Stevens (placekicker) were fourth-team selections.

Higgins, who was also named a preseason first-team All-American and the preseason National Defensive Player of the Year by Phil Steele, tied a program record with 171 tackles in 2023 to lead the Big Ten and rank third nationally.

Jackson earned his second All-America nod (fourth team by Phil Steele) after making 110 tackles in his first season as a Hawkeye. The Atlanta native has 464 tackles in his collegiate career, sitting just 113 stops from tying the all-time NCAA record.

Jones received his second third-team All-America nod after starting 13 games at center in 2023. He was a third-team All-Big Ten selection a season ago.

Castro earned his first preseason All-America honor after making 67 tackles, recording three interceptions and having eight pass breakups in Iowa’s CASH position a season ago. The Illinois native earned Pro Football Focus first-team All-America and Associated Press third-team honors in 2023.


Lachey missed all but three games in 2023 because of injury. He made 10 catches for 131 yards before sustaining a season-ending injury in Week 3. Colby started 13 games at right guard en route to third-team All-Big Ten honors, Black accumulated 51 tackles and had five tackles for loss in 2023, while Schulte started 14 games, recording 65 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and one interception. Schulte is a Lott IMPACT Trophy candidate.

Craig earned honorable mention All-Big Ten honors as a junior after making 54 tackles, including five tackles for loss, three sacks and seven quarterback hurries. Nwankpa started 12 games at strong safety as a sophomore, where he made 42 tackles, including two tackles for loss, one sack and one interception.

Williams earned honorable mention All-Big Ten honors in 2023 after leading the team with 821 rushing yards and one touchdown. The Illinois native had three 100-yard games. Richman started all 14 games and earned honorable mention All-Big Ten honors in 2023, while Harris started 12 times, making 42 tackles, one tackle for loss, eight pass break-ups and one interception. He was Iowa’s Comeback Player of the Year Award recipient. Stevens was a third-team All-Big Ten honoree (coaches) and a Lou Groza Award semifinalist in 2023 after leading the team with 73 points on 18 field goals and 19 PATs.

The Hawkeyes open the 2024 season Aug. 31, hosting Illinois State at 11 a.m. (CT) inside Kinnick Stadium.

Athlon Preseason All-America Teams
Jay Higgins, first team
Nick Jackson, second team
Logan Jones, third team
Sebastian Castro, fourth team

Athlon Preseason All-Big Ten Teams
First Team: Jay Higgins (LB), Nick Jackson (LB), Logan Jones (center)
Second Team: Luke Lachey (TE), Connor Colby (OG), Yahya Black (DT), Sebastian Castro (DB), Quinn Schulte (DB)
Third Team: Deontae Craig (DE), Xavier Nwankpa (DB)
Fourth Team: Leshon Williams (RB), Mason Richman (OT), Jermari Harris (DB), Drew Stevens (PK)