Iowa football's Jack Campbell will return for a senior season. Here's why that's huge for the 2022 defense.
Iowa's defense received good news one week ago when cornerback Riley Moss announced he's returning for another year. On Wednesday, another All-Big Ten defender decided to play one last season in Iowa City. Junior linebacker Jack Campbell, the Hawkeyes' starting middle linebacker, said via Iowa football's Twitter account that he's returning for the 2022 season.
Campbell stepped into a full-time starter role in 2021 after an injury-shortened 2020 and excelled in Phil Parker's system. He led the team with 140 tackles while adding 3.5 sacks and two interceptions. For his play, he was named to the All-Big Ten first team (media) and third team by the coaches. He had NFL prospects but a second straight season with this production likely means a senior bowl invitation and improved pro projections next season.
What that means for Iowa's linebackers
Campbell's return all but ensures that Iowa's talented starting linebacker group will be intact heading into next year. Campbell will continue to lead in the middle and veterans Seth Benson and Jestin Jacobs will add high-level play from the other two positions.
Behind them, backups such as Kyler Fisher, Jay Higgins and more will continue to develop as well and bolster Iowa's special teams unit. Collectively, Iowa's front seven will return all but one starter, defensive lineman Zach VanValkenburg, and will project as one of the top units in the conference once again.
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Kennington Lloyd Smith III covers Iowa Hawkeyes football and men's basketball for the Des Moines Register. You can connect with Kennington on Twitter @SkinnyKenny_ or email him at email@example.com.