King, Jewell, Johnson named to defensive watch lists
Three Iowa defensive players were added to preseason "watch lists" for national awards Friday.
Linebacker Josey Jewell and cornerback Desmond King were named as two of 88 players to watch for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, which is given to the best defensive player in college football. Defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson was put on the watch list for the Outland Trophy, which is awarded to the top interior lineman.
Jewell started all 14 games at middle linebacker last season, anchoring a Hawkeye defense that allowed 11 rushing touchdowns (seventh-lowest total in the country) and yielded an average of 121.4 rushing yards per game (15th nationally). Jewell led Iowa in tackles with 126, including 62 solo stops and three sacks. His four interceptions ranked second on the team, while his 7.5 tackles for loss tied for second best.
King tied the Iowa single-season record and ranked second in the country with eight interceptions, while recording 72 tackles and a team-high 13 pass breakups. He also handled the majority of punt returns and kickoff returns last season, averaging 14.2 yards on 17 punt returns and 24.4 yards on 29 kickoff returns. Friday’s honor comes two days after King was named to the other major trophy given to college football's best defensive player, the Bednarik Award.
Five finalists for the Nagurski Trophy will be announced Nov. 17, with the winner revealed Dec. 5.
Johnson recorded 45 tackles last year, including 5.5 for loss and four sacks -- a total that tied for third most on the team.
He is trying to become the fifth Hawkeye to ever win the Outland, the most recent being Brandon Scherff in 2014.
Finalists will be announced Nov. 22 with the winner revealed live on ESPN during the College Football Awards show Dec. 8.