The Big Ten handed out end-of-year honors on Tuesday and Wednesday and a handful of Hawkeyes were celebrated as among the very best in the Big Ten for their play this year. You can probably guess who they were.
Up first: A.J. Epenesa, whose consistently strong play as a terrormonster on the defensive line, whether he lined up at his usual role of end or, as he did on occasion, at tackle, earned him first team All-Big Ten honors from the coaches and the media.
Epenesa led the Big Ten in QB pressures and finished tied for 4th in the league in sacks, with nine. It's the second straight season that he's earned first team All-Big Ten consideration.
In addition to Epenesa, a few other Iowa defenders also made the All-Big Ten teams. The coaches named safety Geno Stone to the second team and cornerback Michael Ojemudia to the third team, while the media named Ojemudia to the second team (and omitted Stone altogether). Defensive linemen Chauncey Golston and Cedrick Lattimore and linebacker Kristian Welch also earned honorable mention consideration.
Newly-minted Big Ten Kicker of the Year Keith Duncan was (of course) named the All-Big Ten first team kicker by both the coaches and the media as well.
Punter Michael Sleep-Dalton also earned All-Big Ten honorable mention consideration.
There were fewer Hawkeyes honored as All-Big Ten performers on the offensive side of the ball, which probably comes as little surprise. The ones who were recognized? Tristan Wirfs and Alaric Jackson, of course. Wirfs earned Offensive Lineman of the Year honors and was also named first team All-Big Ten by the coaches and the media.
Jackson shook off an early season knee injury to return to action and play well for Iowa down the stretch. That earned him third team All-Big Ten recognition.
In addition, Tyler Linderbaum, Nate Stanley, and Ihmir Smith-Marsette all earned honorable mention All-Big Ten honors as well.
Congratulations to all of the Hawkeyes honored for their accomplishments. It's well-deserved recognition.