Iowa football's Jestin Jacobs, Terry Roberts to enter NCAA transfer portal

Kennington Lloyd Smith III
Des Moines Register

Iowa football's presence in the NCAA transfer portal increased Tuesday when the eighth and ninth players from the program entered the transfer portal.

The focus has been primarily on offensive players, but the latest come from the Hawkeyes' defense. Linebacker Jestin Jacobs and defensive back Terry Roberts will enter the transfer portal, according to multiple reports and confirmed by the Register.

Statistically, Jacobs is the biggest Iowa football transfer to date in this cycle. He finished his redshirt sophomore season (2021) with 53 total tackles, one interception, a forced fumble, and two pass deflections. He entered the 2022 season as Pro Football Focus' No. 9 overall draft-eligible linebacker prospect in the 2023 NFL Draft, six spots behind Hawkeye senior Jack Campbell. However, a pair of injuries early in the season limited Jacobs to just two game appearances, recording six tackles and one pass deflection. His absence was notable, but during the season there was optimism that he would return to Iowa for his senior season in 2023.

"Once we get this thing figured out we got to look at the future and what opportunities are there," said linebackers coach Seth Wallace of Jacobs in October. "I don't want to speak for Jestin, but I do expect him to stick around for another year and double down on his opportunity and help lead this team from a veteran standpoint. We'll obviously have some fresh faces out there next year in the linebacker room. So I think there's a positive outlook on it."

More:Iowa football transfer portal tracker: Who's coming and going on the Hawkeyes' roster

Iowa linebacker Jestin Jacobs has entered his name into the transfer portal

Roberts, regarded as one of the biggest leaders in Iowa's program, saw the latter part of his career limited due to injury. He missed the second half of last season to a knee injury before returning in 2022 to a starting role. After a strong three-game start (12 tackles and one interception), he was a late scratch before the Rutgers game and only returned for one more game for the remainder of the season. His biggest on-field impact came on special teams, where he earned a reputation as one of the best performers in the Kirk Ferentz era.

"Terry's one of the best special teams players we've had (in) two-plus decades," Ferentz said of Roberts in August. "He just has a certain energy to him."

More on Jacobs:Iowa football's Jestin Jacobs is receiving 2023 NFL Draft buzz. What's his 2022 season outlook?

With seniors Jack Campbell and presumably Seth Benson departing from the program as well, Iowa will likely have to replace all three starting linebackers next season. Linebacker might become a priority position for Iowa in the transfer portal. Internally, names to watch next season are juniors Jay Higgins and Kyler Fisher, and a wave of redshirt freshmen: Jaden Harrell, Karson Sharar, Jaxon Rexroth and Zach Twedt.

At cornerback, Iowa is expected to bring back Jermari Harris, a starter in 2021 who missed the 2022 season to injury, next season. All-Big Ten defensive back Cooper DeJean filled in for Roberts this year and could stay at that position permanently. Behind them, sophomore Jamison Heinz and true freshman TJ Hall are next in line.

Both Jacobs and Roberts could still take their names out of the portal and end up back at Iowa, though that's unlikely.