Iowa Football Mid-Season Awards

Handing out mid-season awards to the Iowa Hawkeyes at the halfway point of the 2015 campaign.

The Iowa Hawkeyes are halfway through the season, and still unscathed with a 6-0 record, so time for the mid-season awards given out by Hawkeye Insider. 

MOST OUTSTANDING OFFENSIVE PLAYER

RUNNING BACK JORDAN CANZERI

Easy decision. He's carried the offense on his back in multiple games. He has a four touchdown performance, rushed for over 100 yards in four of the six games, and of course is coming off a 43-carry, 256-yard performance.

OFFENSIVE MVP

QUARTERBACK C.J. BEATHARD

He elevates the game of everyone else even when he's not as sharp. Beathard is the most irreplaceable player on the offense by a large margin and not just because he's the quarterback. He's a difference maker.

MOST OUTSTANDING DEFENSIVE PLAYER

CORNERBACK DESMOND KING

He already has five interceptions on the season and several other pass break ups. King takes a way an entire side of the field, makes plays in critical moments, and provides sensational run support as well. He's an all-conference player in my book.

DEFENSIVE MVP

DEFENSIVE TACKLE JALEEL JOHNSON

His numbers are not as strong as King but what he does for the Hawkeye defense does not show up on the stat sheet. He holds his ground in the running game, clogs the middle, and frees up everyone else around him to run free and make plays. Johnson has also rushed the passer some this year. He's an elite defensive tackle at this stage. 

MOST OUTSTANDING SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER

RETURNER DESMOND KING

King gets the nod again. He's been so productive as a returner though he has had a few gaffes here and there as well. He's broken free for a few very impressive returns and seems as if he's on the brink of taking one to the house.

SPECIAL TEAMS MVP

PUNTER DILLON KIDD

This selection may come as a surprise. After all, there's Desmond King and Marshall Koehn to consider. However, outside of the opener against Illinois State, he's been extremely valuable at flipping field position. He's avoiding the touchback and pinning the opposing offense deep, he's getting the air time to allow the coverage team to collapse for the tackle, and he's getting enough leg into the kicks to flip the field. His effort has gone largely unnoticed.

TOP OFFENSIVE LINEMAN

OFFENSIVE GUARD JORDAN WALSH

It was evident how much they need Walsh when he left the game in the second quarter against Illinois. They love to run behind him and he's been the most consistent lineman on the team thus far this year.

TOP DEFENSIVE LINEMAN

DEFENSIVE TACKLE JALEEL JOHNSON

I have to go with Jaleel again here. He's been elite and sets the table for the defense. Iowa has one of the top defenses against the running game this year and he's the main cog in that machine.

TOP WIDE RECEIVER

WIDE RECEIVER MATT VANDEBERG

Jerminic Smith had the big game against Illinois and is more of a big-play threat, as is wideout Tevaun Smith, but VandeBerg is the most reliable and the most consistent. He leads the team in receptions, has been pivotal on third down, and has hauled in the big catch when the Hawkeyes have needed it the most.

TOP DEFENSIVE BACK

CORNERBACK DESMOND KING

There's no choice but to go with King here despite Greg Mabin being very good and the safeties doing their job the way it is expected. He may be the best cornerback in the Big Ten.

TOP LINEBACKER

LINEBACKER BEN NIEMANN

This is the most improved position unit on the team. They are flying to the ball, taking proper pursuit angles, stuffing the run, and not allowing the big play. I give the Niemann the edge over Jewell and Fisher but not by a wide margin. He can rush the passer, stop the run, and cover sideline to sideline. He's another valuable asset to this prolific defense.

MOST IMPROVED OFFENSIVE PLAYER

OFFENSIVE TACKLE BOONE MYERS

There's not a more difficult responsibility than protecting the quarterback's blind side and especially for someone in their first year starting. Beathard has been beat up over the past few weeks without Myers in the game. He was under less fire with Myers in there and some of that is due to the level of competition but some of it has to do with how far Myers came along since the Spring. Him being inserted back in the starting lineup would be huge for the Hawkeye offense.

MOST IMPROVED DEFENSIVE PLAYER

LINEBACKER COLE FISHER

He's one of the seniors that has raised his game significantly. It's his first season as a starter and his play in his final year is a large reason why the linebacker group is playing much better than they have the past couple of seasons. He's much more athletic than given credit for and has made some clutch plays as well.


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