Iowa football's Jack Campbell plays in Music City Bowl following grandfather's death

Adam Hensley
Hawk Central

Jack Campbell, Iowa football's star linebacker, found out his grandfather died following the Hawkeyes' Music City Bowl win over Kentucky.

According to the school, Campbell's parents held off on telling him until after the game so he could have "one last time to play with his Iowa Hawkeye teammates."

Campbell's grandfather, William Smith Jr., died at age 76. According to Nashville television station WSMV, Smith was trying to cross a street but was struck by a hotel passenger van at around 10:15 p.m. According to Nashville police, "Smith was walking with his family when he decided to cross the road, unable to hear his family’s attempts to stop him due to the rain."

He was taken to the Vanderbilt Medical Center, where he was pronounced deceased. Smith is the father of Jack's stepmother, Jen Campbell.

“Our hearts are with Jack and his entire family as they grieve the tragic death of their grandfather and father, William Smith, Jr.,” Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz said in a statement. “We know Mr. Smith was a strong influence on his grandson and a faithful Hawkeye football supporter. All of us − players, coaches and staff members − will keep the Campbell family in our thoughts and prayers during this profoundly difficult time.” 

More:Leistikow's thoughts off Iowa's 21-0 win over Kentucky: A satisfying, entertaining finish

Campbell played a key role in Iowa's 21-0 shutout win over Kentucky in the Music City Bowl. The senior linebacker tallied 10 total tackles (eight solo), two tackles for a loss and a sack.

Earlier this month, Campbell was named the Butkus Award winner, becoming the first Hawkeye to claim the award. Campbell finished the season as the 13th unanimous All-American selection in program history.

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Adam Hensley is a digital producer with the USA Today Network. You can follow him on Twitter @A_Hens83 or reach him at