National honors piling up for Iowa's Desmond King

Chad Leistikow

The recognition is starting to pile up for Iowa junior cornerback Desmond King.

King on Wednesday was named the recipient of the Jack Tatum Award, presented annually to the nation’s top defensive back by the Touchdown Club of Columbus, Ohio.

Also Wednesday, King was named one of five finalists for the Walter Camp Football Foundation Player of the Year — that’s all players, all positions. The other finalists are offensive players: Alabama running back Derrick Henry, Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey, Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson and Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield.

On Monday, King was named the Big Ten Conference’s defensive back of the year after accumulating eight interceptions, 11 pass breakups and 61 tackles during the Hawkeyes’ 12-0 regular season. King was the only unanimous first-team all-Big Ten defender, earning that distinction from the conference’s media.

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King also has been instrumental as a return man for the Hawkeyes. He’s averaging 25.6 yards per kick return and 13.3 on punt returns.

At Saturday’s Big Ten Championship Game (7:17 p.m., Fox), King will likely face one of his toughest challenges of the season in Michigan State's Aaron Burbridge. The first-team all-Big Ten wide receiver has 21 receptions of 20-plus yards this season and leads the conference with 1,158 receiving yards.

King will presented the Tatum Award on Feb. 6 in Columbus. Four of the last six winners have gone on to win the more prestigious Jim Thorpe Award, also presented to the nation’s top defensive back.

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