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College Football: 11 Hawkeyes named Preseason All-Big Ten by Athlon Sports

IOWA CITY – University of Iowa seniors Sam LaPorta (tight end), Jack Campbell (linebacker) and Riley Moss (defensive back), all named to the first team, highlight the list of 11 Hawkeyes named to the Athlon Sports preseason All-Big Ten teams announced Tuesday. All three Hawkeyes earned third-team mentions a year ago.

Junior defensive lineman Logan Lee, senior linebacker Seth Benson, and junior punter Tory Taylor earned second-team honors. Those named to the third team include sophomores Connor Colby (offensive line) and Lukas Van Ness (defensive line), and senior defensive lineman Noah Shannon. Sophomore running back Gavin Williams and senior safety Kaevon Merriweather were fourth-team honorees.

LaPorta (6-foot-4, 249-pounds) was voted second-team All-Big Ten by Phil Steele and third-team by league coaches in 2021. The Highland, Illinois, native was named to the Mackey Award Preseason Watch List last season. In his junior season, LaPorta led the Hawkeyes in catches and yards, hauling in 53 receptions for 670 yards and three touchdowns.

Campbell (6-5, 243) was a second-team All-America selection by the Football Writers Association of America and Phil Steele. In addition, he earned first-team All-Big Ten honors and was second in the Big Ten with 143 tackles – the fifth-most ever in a single season at Iowa. He earned Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors following a career-best performance with 18 tackles in Iowa’s 24-14 win over Colorado State. A native of Cedar Falls, Iowa, Campbell was the recipient of Iowa’s Roy Carver Most Valuable Player (Defense) award last season and served as a permanent team captain.

Moss (6-1, 194) was a first-team All-America selection by Sporting News a season ago and was voted the Tatum-Woodson Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year. Additionally, Moss was a first-team All-Big Ten selection by both league coaches and media and was a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe Award. The Ankeny, Iowa, native was a recipient of Iowa’s Team Hustle Award and is second all-time at Iowa in career interception return yards (239). Moss is one of three players in program history with three interception return touchdowns.

Lee (6-5, 277) was sixth on the team in tackles (48) and fourth on the team in sacks (3) a season ago, also forcing a fumble and blocking a kick. The Orion, Illinois, native earned Iowa’s Team Hustle Award.

Benson (6-0, 229) was voted third-team All-Big Ten by Phil Steele last season and was named honorable mention all-conference by league media in addition to being an Academic All-Big Ten selection. The Sioux Falls, South Dakota, native was second on the team in tackles (105), notched a pair of sacks and registered an interception. He earned Iowa’s Team Hustle Award and Coaches Appreciation Award for special teams.

Taylor (6-4, 231) handled all of Iowa’s punting duties in 2021, averaging 46.1 yards on 80 punts – 39 of which were downed inside the opponent’s 20-yard line. He was a semifinalist for the Ray Guy Award and appeared on the weekly Ray’s 8 list three times throughout the season. The Melbourne, Australia, native was named Big Ten Co-Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance against Iowa State and was named honorable mention All-Big Ten by league coaches and media.

Colby (6-6, 298) earned Freshman All-America honors from the Football Writers Association of America and the Maxwell Football Club in 2021. The Cedar Rapids, Iowa, native was named to the Shaun Alexander Freshman of the Year Watch List and earned the Iowa Coaches Appreciation Award.

Van Ness (6-5, 264) was named a Freshman All-America selection by the Football Writers Association of America and the Maxwell Football Club a season ago. The Barrington, Illinois, native tied for the team lead in sacks (7) and had the second-most tackles for loss (8.5). He was an Academic All-Big Ten honoree and was named to the Shaun Alexander Freshman of the Year Watch List.

Shannon (6-0, 289) was voted honorable mention All-Big Ten by league coaches and media last season and earned Iowa’s Team Hustle Award. A native of Montgomery, Illinois, Shannon was seventh on the team in tackles (47) and tallied a pair of sacks and tackles for loss.

Williams (6-0, 211) was second on the team, rushing for 315 yards on 65 carries (4.7 avg.) during his freshman season, adding nine catches for 47 yards. The Altoona, Iowa, native earned Iowa’s Next Man In award and was an Academic All-Big Ten selection.

Merriweather (6-0, 211) notched 42 tackles and an interception, appearing in all 14 games last season. He was named to the 2021 Wuerffel Trophy Preseason Watch List and won the Duke Slater Golden Gavel Award, presented by Iowa media. The Belleville, Michigan, native received Iowa’s Coaches Appreciation Award.

The Hawkeyes open the season with three straight nonconference home games, each featuring a different start time. The season-opener Sept. 3 against South Dakota State is slated for an 11 a.m. CT kickoff on FS1. The annual Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series game against Iowa State will follow on Sept. 10, with a 3 p.m. CT start time on BTN. Iowa’s final nonconference contest is an evening contest against Nevada, with that game starting at 6:30 p.m. CT, also on BTN.

Questions concerning the purchase of 2022 football tickets, including general public, UI faculty/staff and UI student season tickets by current UI students, should be directed to the UI Athletics Ticket Office. The office telephone number is 1-800-IA-HAWKS

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