Iowa's Tristan Wirfs named Big Ten's top offensive lineman of the year

Mark Emmert
Hawk Central

Tristan Wirfs wrote down his goals on a sticky note and attached them to a bathroom mirror, where he could look at them every day this football season.

On Wednesday, Iowa's junior offensive tackle outdid himself. Wirfs wanted to be first team all-Big Ten Conference. He was that, and more.

Wirfs was named the Big Ten's Rimington-Pace offensive lineman of the year. The award is named after former Nebraska star Dave Rimington and former Ohio State standout Orlando Pace.

“My goals are as realistic as I can make them,” Wirfs told the Register in the summer.

“The harder I work, the more realistic they become.”

Iowa junior offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs directs his teammates as Nebraska's defense gets into formation in the third quarter on Friday, Nov. 29, 2019, at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Neb.

Wirfs is the first Hawkeye to earn the offensive lineman award since Brandon Scherff in 2014. The award for offensive line play was first presented in 1984, with Wirfs being the eighth Hawkeye to earn the honor.

Wirfs, at 6-foot-6, 322 pounds, is a devastating blocker who is considered a potential top NFL draft pick. He is a three-year starter who was an honorable mention all-Big Ten selection a year ago.

This year, his offensive line coach, Tim Polasek, challenged the easygoing native of Mount Vernon to be "meaner" on the football field. He obliged. And checked off a big goal on his list.

Next up: Wirfs wants to be a consensus all-American. He's on his way after Wednesday's award.

Wirfs' counterpart at tackle, fellow junior Alaric Jackson, was named third-team all-Big Ten.

Junior wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette and freshman center Tyler Linderbaum received honorable mention recognition by coaches and media. Along with earning the Sportsmanship Award, senior quarterback Nate Stanley was named honorable mention all-Big Ten by conference coaches.

On Tuesday, Iowa defensive end A.J. Epenesa and kicker Keith Duncan were also named first team all-Big Ten.

Mark Emmert covers the Iowa Hawkeyes for the Register. Reach him at or 319-339-7367. Follow him on Twitter at @MarkEmmert.

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