Iowa tradition continues: Another first-team all-Big Ten lineman

Chad Leistikow
Hawk Central

For the fourth time in five years, Iowa has a first-team all-Big Ten Conference offensive lineman.

Sean Welsh on Wednesday was named a first-teamer by the league's media, a well-deserved honor for the Hawkeyes' up-front stalwart who made headlines before the season by coming forward about his past struggles with depression. Welsh was a second-team choice by the league's coaches.

Iowa head football coach Kirk Ferentz and the coaching staff welcome right tackle Sean Welsh back after the Hawkeyes scored against Penn State on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City.

Welsh (6-foot-3, 295 pounds) has been a fixture on Iowa's offensive line in the past three-plus seasons. He has logged 48 career starts, most of them at right guard, although he has served as a stopgap option at right tackle — in a key 2015 win at Northwestern and again this season for three starts until true freshman Tristan Wirfs was up to speed.

Welsh joins Brandon Scherff (2013, 2014) and Jordan Walsh (2015) as first-team Hawkeye linemen in the past five seasons.

He also gives 7-5 Iowa three all-Big Ten first-teamers, which is tied with Michigan, Penn State and Indiana for third-most in the conference this year behind Ohio State and Wisconsin (seven each).

On Tuesday, linebacker Josey Jewell and cornerback Josh Jackson were named to the Big Ten's first-team defense.

The Hawkeyes also landed two players on the Big Ten's third-team offense.

Senior running back Akrum Wadley (1,021 yards rushing, 329 receiving with a team-high 12 touchdowns) was slotted on the third team for the second straight year. The four running backs that were voted ahead of him: Penn State's Saquon Barkley, Wisconsin's Jonathan Taylor, Northwestern's Justin Jackson and Ohio State's J.K. Dobbins.

Sophomore Noah Fant was a third-teamer after setting Iowa's season record for touchdowns by a tight end with 10. Fant pulled in 28 catches for 486 yards, both second on the team. Penn State's Mike Gesicki (51 catches, 501 yards, 9 TDs) and Wisconsin's Troy Fumagalli (38 catches, 471 yards, 4 TDs) were ahead of Fant.

The league will announce individual honors Thursday. Jewell and Jackson are in the mix for Big Ten defensive player of the year.