Defensive end Joe Evans will return to Iowa football team for another season

Chad Leistikow
Des Moines Register

A day after powerful defensive lineman Lukas Van Ness announced his departure for the NFL Draft, the Iowa football program got another pass rusher back.

Joe Evans, who has 18 career sacks and started all 13 games this past season, announced on Wednesday that he would return to the Hawkeyes as a sixth-year senior.

The former walk-on from Ames has become one of Iowa's top defensive players. He decided to give college one more year before entering the NFL draft in 2024.

More:Iowa football pass rusher Lukas Van Ness declares for NFL Draft

"I have been honored to suit up with the best teammates I could have ever hoped for — guys who are more than teammates, they are like brothers that I will be standing with the rest of my life," Evans said in a statement posted to his Twitter account on Wednesday.

"When I sat down with my family to make a decision for next year, the answer was clear: I am excited to announce that I will be back next year in black and gold. I cannot pass up the chance to be a part of this team and this program again, to swarm out with my teammates and coaches in front of such great fans."

Iowa defensive end Joe Evans pressures Wisconsin quarterback Graham Mertz on Nov. 12 at Kinnick Stadium.

Evans had six sacks and four quarterback hurries this past season and logged 40 tackles overall. Evans, a 6-foot-2, 246-pound defender, was voted second-team All-Big Ten Conference by the league's coaches, a sign of the respect he has among those who know football best.

More:Iowa quarterbacks room shrinks as Carson May enters NCAA transfer portal

With Evans returning, it's likely that he and tremendous junior-to-be Deontae Craig are starters off the edge next season. Another rotational end, Ethan Hurkett, also returns. The Hawkeyes' defense finished No. 1 nationally in yards-per-play allowed (3.99) and No. 2 in total yardage (270.8 per game).