Iowa safety Kaevon Merriweather opts out of Music City Bowl to prepare for NFL Draft

Will Kennedy
Des Moines Register
Iowa Hawkeyes defensive back Kaevon Merriweather has announced he's opting out of the Music City Bowl to prepare for the NFL Draft

The elite Iowa football defense will be without a major playmaker when they take the field against Kentucky (7-5, 3-5 SEC) on Dec. 31 for the Music City Bowl.

Hawkeyes All-American safety Kaevon Merriweather announced on his Twitter account Saturday that he was opting out of the bowl game and declaring for the 2023 NFL Draft.

"Dear Hawkeye Nation: It is with a bowed head and humble heart that I come to inform you that after careful consideration and thoughtful conversations with my family, I have decided to forego the Music City Bowl game to begin preparing for the 2023 NFL Draft," Merriweather's statement said. "Thank you for all the love and support you have shown me the last five years. It will never be forgotten."

Merriweather, a senior from Belleville, Michigan, has seen action in every game over the last two seasons and he started every game in 2022 for Iowa (7-5, 5-4 Big Ten). He's racked up a total of four interceptions, three of them coming this season, and nine passes defended in his career. He scored his lone career touchdown this year on a 30-yard fumble recovery against Rutgers.

More:Iowa linebacker Jack Campbell named first-team AP All-American, 2 others earn second-team honors

The senior was selected as a second-team All-American by the Associated Press and Sporting News. He'll head to the Reese’s Senior Bowl in February and is projected as a mid-round pick in several NFL mock drafts.