The Iowa Hawkeyes have produced some great defenders in their long history. Iowa fans will remember guys like Chad Greenway, Adrian Clayborn and more recently Desmond King. Fans will recall how great they were for Iowa and what they were able to accomplish in their college careers.

This season, Iowa has another defender who can be mentioned in the same breath as the other popular defenders. That defender is senior middle linebacker, Josey Jewell.

After a great start to the season against the Wyoming Cowboys, where he recorded 14 total tackles and two sacks. Jewell had another good performance against in-state rival Iowa State. In that game, he had seven total tackles with three solo, and four assisted. Jewell also had one pass defended.

Jewell is poised to have another strong season for the Hawkeyes. But his performance in the first two games of the season was nothing unusual for him. Jewell has been doing this for the Hawks since 2014.

Jewell began his career as a Hawkeye back in 2013 when he was redshirted as a freshman. He got his chance to play in 2014 and turned some heads. After missing two games with an injury to begin the season, Jewell played in 11 games starting the last four. On the year, he totaled 51 tackles with 22 solo and 29 assisted. Jewell managed just one tackle for a loss, but he would get better at that his collegiate career continued.

His biggest moment in the 2014 season happened in early 2015 when Iowa faced the Tennessee Volunteers in the Tax Slayer Bowl. Granted the game didn’t go Iowa’s way as they lost to Tennessee 45-28 but Jewell’s performance signaled brighter days were coming for himself and the Hawks’ defense. He was named Iowa’s Most Valuable Player in the game after recording 14 tackles with half of those being solo and the other half assisted.

Jewell started every game at middle linebacker in 2015. He became the team leader in tackles that year registering 126 total. Jewell snagged four interceptions and had seven and a half tackles for a loss. His biggest game of the year came against the Indiana Hoosiers with a 15-tackle performance, and 11 of those were solo. Jewell broke up two passes and had a tackle for a loss in that game.

Some of the honors that Jewell earned that season included the defense’s Team Hustle Award, second team Academic All-Big Ten honors as well as second team All-Big Ten by several media outlets and coaches.

2016 saw Jewell start in all of Iowa’s 13 games at middle linebacker. He led Iowa again in tackles with 124 including 58 solo. Jewell added six tackles for a loss, nine pass break ups, a couple of sacks and even blocked a field goal (against Penn State). He had two 16-tackle games during 2016 with one coming against Northwestern and another against Wisconsin. All along the way, Jewell had key plays to help keep the Hawks in games making him one of Iowa’s biggest playmakers.

Jewell received several honors because of his play in 2016. He was named a fourth team All-America and a second team All- Big Ten team member by several media outlets. He was a team captain as well as the Hawkeye’s most valuable player on defense.

Josey Jewell hails from Decorah, Iowa which is in the Northeastern part of the state. As star defender in high school, he named the KCRG-TV and Cedar Rapids Gazette All-area Player of the Year. Jewell was tabbed as a Des Moines Register Elite all-state first team player as well. He participated in three other sports in high school including track, baseball, and basketball.

The start of the 2017 season has been a good one for Jewell. With two games down, he has been honored three times already for his performance against the Cowboys. He was named the Walter Camp Defensive Player of the Week, the Big Ten Conference Defensive Player of the Week and named the Lott Impact Trophy Player of the week.

What a great way to start the season.

With a strong 2017 campaign, Jewell will position himself for a shot at getting selected in a great spot in the 2018 NFL Draft. But we shouldn’t look that far ahead. Let’s hope that Iowa’s best defensive playmaker stays healthy, has a productive season and can help lead this team to bigger and better things in 2017.