IOWA CITY, Iowa -- University of Iowa senior linebacker Josey Jewell and senior running back Akrum Wadley were named Roy J. Carver Most Valuable Players for the 2017 Hawkeye football team that held its annual awards banquet on Sunday afternoon.
Five team captains for the 2017 season were announced; sophomore quarterback Nate Stanley and senior offensive lineman Sean Welsh on offense, Jewell and junior defensive backJosh Jackson on defense, and senior linebacker Kevin Ward on special teams.
Jewell is the only player under Kirk Ferentz to be a permanent team captain three years, and considered the only Iowa player ever to earn that distinction. Jewell has earned first team All-America honors by Walter Camp and additional outlets. The native of Decorah, Iowa, earned first team All-Big Ten honors and was named the Big Ten’s Nagurski-Woodson Defensive Player of the Year and the Butkus-Fitzgerald Linebacker of the Year. He was named the Jack Lambert Award winner by the Touchdown Club of Columbus, is a finalist for the Lott IMPACT Trophy and Senior CLASS Award, and was a finalist for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy.
Jewell is the third Hawkeye in program history to have three seasons with at least 115 tackles (Larry Station ‘83, ‘84, ‘85; Abdul Hodge ‘03, ‘04, ‘05). Jewell has 426 career tackles, fifth all-time in program history. Jewell was also recognized with the “Iron Hawk Award” for the second straight season.
Wadley, a native of Newark, New Jersey, led the Hawkeye rushing attack with 1,021 yards, becoming the fourth Iowa running back to surpass 1,000 rushing yards in consecutive seasons. Wadley’s career totals include 514 rushing attempts for 2,784 yards. He ranks fifth in career rushing, third in touchdowns (34), fourth in rushing touchdowns (27), ninth in all-purpose yards (3,621), and 10th in scoring (204 points). He was named third team All-Big Ten.
Jackson, a native of Corinth, Texas, is tied as the national leader with seven interceptions and earned first team All-Big Ten recognition for the first time. He leads the nation with 25 passes defended and is tied for second in interception return touchdowns (two), and pass break-ups (18). Jackson’s seven interceptions rank fourth best for a single season at Iowa, just one from tying Iowa’s single-season record (Desmond King, 2015; Lou King, 1981; Nile Kinnick, 1939).
Jackson tied Iowa’s school record with two interception returns for touchdowns (B.J. Lowery, 2013) at Wisconsin, covering 43 and 52 yards. The previous game, Jackson tied Iowa’s school record with three interceptions in Iowa’s 55-24 win over No. 3 Ohio State.
Jackson was a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award. He was named the Big Ten’s Tatum-Woodson Defensive Back of the Year and the Jack Tatum Defensive Back of the Year by the Touchdown Club of Columbus. He was named first team All-America by the Walter Camp Foundation.
Stanley (Menomonie, Wisconsin), had a productive first season as Iowa’s starting signal caller, passing for 2,338 yards and 25 touchdowns, with just six interceptions. The 25 scoring strikes ties for third best in a single season. He earned honorable mention All-Big Ten honors.
Welsh is a native of Springboro, Ohio, who has started 48 of the 51 games he has played in his career, seeing action at guard and tackle. He earned first team All-Big Ten recognition, marking the third straight year league coaches or media have recognized his accomplishments.
Ward is a native of Homer Glen, Illinois, who competed in all 12 games. He had his first career start at Northwestern and recorded nine tackles.
The Hayden Fry Award was shared by Welsh on offense, Jackson and Jewell on defense, and Ward on special teams. The award goes to team members who show exemplary leadership and dedication throughout the year.
Senior tight end Jon Wisnieski received the Forest Evashevski Scholastic Achievement Award, presented to a senior who has the highest scholastic record. The native of West Des Moines, Iowa, is majoring in management and leisure studies. He earned Academic All-Big Ten recognition this semester.
The Reggie Roby Special Teams Award went to kicker Miguel Recinos and long snapper Tyler Kluver as specialists, and to Ward for his overall special teams play. Recinos handled all PAT, field goal, and kickoff duties. He was successful on all 41 PAT’s during the regular season and added 9-of-11 field goals, with one of those being blocked. He is second on the team with 68 points and also handled kickoff duties throughout the season. Kluver handled all long snaps over the past four years after joining the program as a walk-on. He also had an 18-yard pass reception that led to a touchdown versus third-ranked Ohio State. Ward earned the special teams recognition for a second straight season.
The Brett Greenwood Award was shared by senior offensive lineman Boone Myers, and senior linebackers Bo Bower and Ward. Myers battled a leg injury from the start of the season and missed the final seven games. Bower started all 12 games and is second on the team with 83 tackles. The Greenwood Award is presented to a walk-on who embodies the values and behaviors of former Hawkeye walk-on Brett Greenwood, a defensive back from Bettendorf, Iowa, who completed his playing career in 2010.
Established in 2011, the Greenwood Award also honors former Hawkeyes who fit the description, one year at a time, for each season Kirk Ferentz has coached the Hawkeyes. Two seniors from the 2005 Iowa team were recognized, including running back Marcus Schnoor and wide receiver Matt Melloy. Both were three-year lettermen from 2002-05.
Senior wide receiver Matt VandeBerg and senior fullback Drake Kulick shared Comeback Player of the Year honors. VandeBerg (Brandon, South Dakota) returned for a final season after playing in just four games in 2016 and shares the Iowa record with 53 games played. He has 133 career receptions for 1,677 yards. VandeBerg ranks 10th in career receptions and 16th in receiving yards.
Kulick, a Muscatine, Iowa, native, suffered a major leg injury in the final regular season game in 2016, but was able to return to action and play in every game as a senior. Kulick has 10 career starts since joining the team as a walk-on.
Three Hawkeyes earned the Next Man In Award; freshman offensive lineman Tristan Wirfs (Mount Vernon, Iowa) on offense, junior defensive back Jake Gervase (Davenport, Iowa) on defense, and freshman defensive back Geno Stone (New Castle, Pennsylvania) on special teams. Wirfs battled back from preseason injury to play in nine games, including starting the last seven games at right tackle. He is the first true freshman under Kirk Ferentz to start at offensive tackle, and one of four true freshmen to start at an offensive line position.
Gervase has increased his playing time each season since joining the program as a walk-on. He started nine games in 2017, including the final six of the season. Gervase ranks fourth on the team with a career-best 45 tackles. Stone played as true freshman, seeing action in 10 games. He recorded 17 total tackles on defense and special teams and had one interception for 19 yards.
Coaches Appreciation Award recipients included Stanley and senior running back James Butler on offense, senior lineman Nathan Bazata and senior linebacker Ben Niemann on defense, and Kluver for special teams. Both Bazata (Howells, Nebraska) and Niemann (Sycamore, Illinois), earned honorable mention All-Big Ten honors.
Butler joined the program as a graduate transfer in 2017 and contributed immediately. Despite missing four games due to injury, the Bloomingdale, Illinois, native was second on the team with 364 yards.
Team Hustle Awards went to junior wide receiver Nick Easley on offense, junior defensive end Parker Hesse and senior defensive back Miles Taylor on defense, and sophomore linebacker Amani Jones for special teams. Easley is a Newton, Iowa, native who joined the team from junior college and was the leader in receptions (50) and yards (498) while scoring four touchdowns. Hesse, from Waukon, Iowa, recorded 39 tackles and forces two fumbles while starting all 12 games. Taylor, a native of Silver Spring Maryland, recorded 47 tackles while starting nine games and earning the Team Hustle Award for a second straight season. Jones, a Chicago native, had eight tackles while leading Iowa’s special teams.
Team Leader Awards were presented to freshman quarterback Peyton Mansell and junior wide receiver Kyle Groeneweg on offense, senior lineman Daniel Gaffey and freshman linebacker Joe Ludwig on defense, and Groeneweg and freshman defensive back Jack Koerner on special teams. Gaffey was recognized for the second time in two seasons.
The Player Appreciation Award was presented to Will and Renee Moon of Bettendorf. The Moons have been generous contributors to the UI athletics department and are Kinnick Society Gold members. The Moons have been major gift contributors to multiple Athletics capital projects, including the Kinnick Stadium and Carver-Hawkeye Arena renovations, the Hansen Football Performance Center, and recently made a leadership gift to support the Iowa football program, with emphasis on the Kinnick Edge campaign. Will is the proprietor of the World’s Largest Truck Stop on Interstate 80 in Walcott, Iowa, in addition to several other successful ventures in the transportation services industry. Renee is a successful family practice dentist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
The Bump Elliott Appreciation Award was presented to Kim and Peter Harman, owners of Graze Catering.
The Distinguished Service Award was presented to athletic trainer Russ Haynes. Haynes joined the Iowa staff in 1987 as assistant athletic trainer, and has worked with the football program since becoming a fulltime member of the staff. He became Associate Director of Athletic Training Services in 1990.
Haynes worked with the men’s track and field program from 1985-87 as a graduate assistant athletic trainer. He served as the Head Athletic Trainer at Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, Iowa, in 1984-85, before joining the Hawkeye staff as a graduate assistant.
Haynes graduated from the University of Iowa in 1984 with a bachelor of general studies degree. He earned his master’s degree from Iowa in exercise science and physical education in 1987.
Team Award Winners:
Forest Evashevski Scholastic Achievement: Jon Wisnieski
Iron Hawk Award: Josey Jewell
Reggie Roby Special Teams Award: Miguel Recinos, specialist
Tyler Kluver, specialist
Kevin Ward, overall
Team Leader Award: Peyton Mansell, offense
Kyle Groeneweg, offense
Daniel Gaffey, defense
Joe Ludwig, defense
Kyle Groeneweg, special teams
Jack Koerner, special teams
Brett Greenwood Award: Boone Myers, offense
Bo Bower, defense
Kevin Ward, special teams
Former Players: Matt Melloy
Comeback Player of the Year: Matt VandeBerg
Coaches Appreciation Award: Nate Stanley, offense
James Butler offense
Nathan Bazata, defense
Ben Niemann, special teams
Tyler Kluver, special teams
Team Hustle Award: Nick Easley, offense
Parker Hesse, defense
Miles Taylor, defense
Amani Jones, special teams
Next Man In Award: Tristan Wirfs, offense
Jake Gervase, defense
Geno Stone, special teams
Hayden Fry Award: Sean Welsh, offense
Josey Jewell, defense
Josh Jackson, defense
Kevin Ward, special teams
Permanent Team Captains: Nathan Stanley, offense
Sean Welsh, offense
Josey Jewell, defense
Josh Jackson, defense
Kevin Ward, special teams