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Football: Four Hawkeyes names to third-team All-Big Ten offense

Head Coach Kirk Ferentz
Head Coach Kirk Ferentz
IOWA CITY – Four members of the University of Iowa offensive unit earned third team All-Big Ten recognition, while an additional five Hawkeye players earned honorable mention accolades. The offensive honorees were announced by the Big Ten Conference.

Junior guard Sean Welsh (Springboro, Ohio) and sophomore center James Daniels (Warren, Ohio) earned third team recognition from both Big Ten coaches and media. Senior tackle Cole Croston (Sergeant Bluff, Iowa) and junior running back Akrum Wadley (Newark, N.J.) were named third team by coaches and honorable mention by media.

Hawkeye offensive players earning honorable mention include senior quarterback C.J. Beathard (Franklin, Tenn.), junior tackle Ike Boettger (Cedar Falls, Iowa), senior running back LeShun Daniels, Jr. (Warren, Ohio), senior tight end George Kittle (Norman, Okla.), and senior wide receiver Riley McCarron (Dubuque, Iowa).

Welsh has proven to be one of the most consistent performers in Iowa’s offensive line, starting all 11 games he played (did not play vs. North Dakota State because of injury). Welsh has started at both guard and tackle over the past two seasons and has 34 career starts. He was honorable mention All-Big Ten in 2015.

Daniels played as a true freshman in 2015 and moved to center for this year, starting all nine games in which he saw action. Daniels was forced to miss games against Iowa State and North Dakota State because of injuries.

Croston battled injuries most of the season, missing four complete games and playing just special teams at Penn State. Croston started the first five games of the season at left tackle and later started two games at right tackle.

Wadley leads the Hawkeyes in all-purpose yards (105 yards per game) and scoring (78 points). He ranks second behind LeShun Daniels in rushing with 966 yards, while also ranking second on the team in receiving (32-294 yards). Wadley has rushed for 10 touchdowns and scored on three pass receptions.

LeShun Daniels leads Iowa in rushing with 1,013 yards and has also scored 10 rushing touchdowns. He has rushed for over 100 yards in five career games and has six career games with multiple touchdowns. He is the first Hawkeye to surpass 1,000 rushing yards in a season since 2011. Daniels was also honored with the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award.

In earning Big Ten honors for the first time in his career, Boettger started at three different positions on the line, while missing the win at Illinois because of injury. He started nine games at right tackle, one game at left tackle and one at left guard.

The Hawkeye offensive line as a unit was named earlier this week as one of three finalists for the Joe Moore Offensive Line Award, which recognizes the top offensive line in college football.

Beathard earned honorable mention honors after being named second team as a junior. He started all 12 games, completing 163-of-278 (.586) passes for 1,874 yards and 17 touchdowns, with just seven interceptions. Beathard ranks among Iowa’s top 10 quarterbacks in completions, attempts, yards, touchdowns and total offense.

Kittle started the first nine games of the season before missing wins over Michigan and Illinois. He returned to the starting line-up for Iowa’s win over Nebraska and scored two touchdowns. For the season he had 21 receptions for 296 yards and four touchdowns.

McCarron led the Hawkeyes in receiving with 41 receptions for 506 yards and four touchdowns, while also contributing on special teams. He started all 12 games and completed the regular season with five receptions for 108 yards in the win over Nebraska. McCarron also averaged 21.1 yards on seven punt returns, including a 55-yard touchdown at Illinois, and added a 54-yard kickoff return against Northwestern.

Iowa (8-4, 6-3) learned of its bowl destination on Sunday, as they will play the Florida Gators in the Outback Bowl. The Hawkeyes are ranked in both the Associated Press (22) and coaches (25) national rankings after winning their final three games of the regular season.

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