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Iowa football: T.J Hockenson named Big Ten's top tight end; Noah Fant also on first team

Chad Leistikow
Hawk Central

As many good tight ends as the Iowa football program has cranked out, only four had been named first-team all-conference in the past 25 years.

Make it six in 26.

Mackey Award finalist T.J. Hockenson was named to the Big Ten’s first team Wednesday by the league’s media, and teammate Noah Fant was named a first-teamer by the league's coaches. Hockenson was named the Kwalick-Clark Tight End of the Year.

They join Dallas Clark (2002), Brandon Myers (2008), Tony Moeaki (2009) and C.J. Fiedorowicz (2013) as first-team tight ends from Iowa.

T.J. Hockenson scored six receiving touchdowns during the 2018 regular season and one rushing on this fake field goal at Minnesota.

A 6-foot-5, 250-pound sophomore from Chariton, Hockenson led the Hawkeyes in receptions (46) and receiving yards (717) during an 8-4 regular season. Only two tight ends in FBS have more receiving yards.

The stats only tell part of Hockenson's impact, though. He was an every-down player for a team that scores 31.5 points per game, which would be the program’s highest average since 2002 if it holds through the bowl game. He is known for powerful run blocking and having some of the best hands on the team.

Fant (6-5, 241), who was a Mackey Award semifinalist, was honored after catching 39 balls for 519 yards and a team-best seven receiving touchdowns. He was a third-teamer in 2017.

With only one first-team all-Big Ten slot, it's pretty impressive that Iowa got two.

Sophomore left tackle Alaric Jackson was named a second-teamer by the media and coaches; left guard Ross Reynolds was a second-teamer by the media and third by the coaches; and center Keegan Render was a third-teamer by the media.

In total, Iowa ended up with five first-teamers on the all-Big Ten team — the most for the program since 2009. Defensive end A.J. Epenesa, defensive back Amani Hooker and kick returner Ihmir Smith-Marsette were honored as first-teamers Tuesday.

First team

Offense: TE T.J. Hockenson (media)*, TE Noah Fant (coaches)

Defense: DB Amani Hooker (coaches, media)*, DE A.J. Epenesa (media),

Specialists: KR Ihmir Smith-Marsette (media)*

*—Hockenson was named Kwalick-Clark Tight End of the Year; Hooker was named Tatum-Woodson Defensive Back of the Year; Smith-Marsette was named Rodgers-Dwight Return Specialist of the Year

Second team

Offense: TE T.J. Hockenson (coaches), TE Noah Fant (media), OL Alaric Jackson (coaches, media), OL Ross Reynolds (media)

Defense: DE Anthony Nelson (media), DE A.J. Epenesa (coaches)

Specialists: KR Ihmir Smith-Marsette (coaches)

Third team

Offense: OL Ross Reynolds (coaches), OL Keegan Render (media)

Defense: DE Anthony Nelson (coaches)

Honorable mention

Offense: OL Keegan Render (coaches), OL Tristan Wirfs (coaches, media), WR Ihmir Smith-Marsette (media)

Defense: DT Matt Nelson (coaches, media), DB Jake Gervase (coaches, media), DE Parker Hesse (media), DB Geno Stone (media)

Specialists: K Miguel Recinos