Jewell, King, Scherff, Duncan Named to BTN All-Decade Team

By RossWB on July 3, 2020 at 12:23 pm
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© Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

BTN has been in a retrospective mood the last few weeks, naming an All-Decade team for basketball last week and an All-Decade team for football this week. While the basketball team was devoid of Hawkeyes (sad!), there is a great deal of Hawkeye representation on the All-Decade football team. 

First up: Josey Jewell, named one of the three All-Decade linebackers. 

Jewell was a three-year starter who became a consensus first team All-American in 2017, as well as Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and the Jack Lambert Award as the Best Linebacker in the nation. Jewell was a tackling machine and the leader of some very good Iowa defenses from 2015-2017.

Next up: Brandon Scherff, named one of the two All-Decade offensive tackles. 

Iowa has had some very good offensive linemen over the last 20 years, and during the span of time represented by this list... but few have been as dominant as Scherff, who locked down the left side of Iowa's offensive line for three seasons and laid waste to bench press records and opposing defenders with ease. Scherff was named a consensus first team All-American in 2014, and also won the Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year and Outland Trophy Awards for his overpowering performance that season. 

Next: Desmond King, named one of the two All-Decade cornerbacks. 

You could pretty credibly argue that Desmond King was the best Iowa player in the 2010s. He became a starter early in his freshman season and fast became a fixture in the Iowa lineup, earning third-team freshman All-American status. King was brilliant during Iowa's incredible 2015 season and earned consensus first-team All-America status, as well as Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year and the Jim Thorpe and Jack Tatum national awards for defensive back of the year. He earned second-team All-America honors as a senior in 2016, but with quarterbacks refusing to throw his way, his overall numbers diminished, which prevented him from repeating as a first-team All-American or becoming a back-to-back award winner. King was excellence personified in his four seasons in the Iowa secondary. 

Finally: Keith Duncan, the All-Decade kicker. 

Of all the Iowa players to earn All-Decade first team honors, Duncan is the one who surprised me the most. Duncan was extraordinary in 2019, putting together arguably the greatest season in Big Ten history for a kicker, but I wasn't sure if that would outweigh kickers with greater bodies of work than Duncan (though Duncan wasn't quite a "one-season wonder," either -- he made 9/11 field goal attempts as a true freshman in 2016, including one extremely memorable kick against Michigan). Duncan's extreme productivity -- and consistency -- in 2019, making a Big Ten record 29 field goals, many on the road and in less than ideal weather conditions, earned him consensus first team All-America honors as well as the Big Ten Kicker of the Year award (and being robbed of the Lou Groza Award). 

Several other Iowa players also earned second team All-Decade honors as well. One of those was TJ Hockenson, one of two Big Ten players to win the John Mackey Award as the nation's best tight end (along with Michigan's Jake Butt). 

Iowa's reputation as DBU flourished in the '10s, with four Iowa defensive backs earning Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year honors. Three of those DB of the Year winners earned All-Decade honors, with Amani Hooker and Josh Jackson earning second-team honors (and King taking first-team honors). 

And I know not everyone can make lists like these, but Micah Hyde's omission does feel a bit cruel. He was the fourth of Iowa's Defensive Back of the Year winners and he was a fixture in Iowa's secondary for years, with his versatility enabling him to play outside corner, nickel corner, and safety at various points. 

A.J. Epenesa also earned second-team All-Decade honors: 

The full All-Decade team: 

QB: tba
RB: Saquon Barkley (Penn State), Jonathan Taylor (Wisconsin)
WR: Tyler Johnson (Minnesota), Allen Robinson (Penn State)
TE: Jake Butt (Michigan)
OL: Brandon Scherff (Iowa), Dan Feeney (Indiana), Wyatt Davis (Ohio State), Michael Deiter (Wisconsin), Billy Price (Ohio State), Taylor Lewan (Michigan)

DL: Joey Bosa (Ohio State), Chase Young (Ohio State), Ryan Kerrigan (Purdue), JJ Watt (Wisconsin)
LB: Josey Jewell (Iowa), Devin Bush (Michigan), Chris Borland (Wisconsin)
DB: Desmond King (Iowa), Darqueze Dennard (Michigan State), Antoine Winfield, Jr. (Minnesota), Malik Booker (Ohio State) 

K: Keith Duncan (Iowa)
P: Mike Sadler (Michigan State)
All-Purpose Defense: Jabrill Peppers (Michigan)
All-Purpose Offense: Braxton Miller (Ohio State)

Congratulations to all the honorees. We've certainly been fortunate to watch some very good players at Iowa over the last decade. 

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