Iowa linebacker Josey Jewell became the first non-senior to be invited by head coach Kirk Ferentz to represent Iowa in Chicago for Big Ten Media Days. That's a story that has been re-hashed several times now but the Hawkeye contingent that was in the 'Windy City' discussed that milestone and how it came about, including Jewell himself.
Not only was Jewell surprised to be on the trip to represent his university, but he was clearly excited to be in attendance as well.
"I guess I just feel privileged to have that honor and to be able to come here with the seniors," he said to a group of members from the media. "It's just awesome that the coaches selected me. I'm humbled and it's a cool experience to be here and represent the University of Iowa."
"I didn't think anything of this," he added alluding to his surprise. I didn't think I'd make it to this or anything. They just told me one day that I was supposed to come here. I was happy and ready to come here."
A fellow captain and leader on the team was not surprised to find out that Jewell would be accompanying him to Chicago, stating his work ethic and the respect he commands in the locker room.
"He's awesome," star quarterback C.J. Beathard shared about the junior linebacker. "He's just a great leader. Everyone respects him on the team. It's just the way that he works. He works his tail off, whether it's in the weight room lifting weights or doing competition stuff. He competes his butt off."
That mentality was also echoed by his head coach, citing one example of where he knew that Jewell had that in him.
"I was just telling someone recently just about a snapshot moment I had for him," Kirk Ferentz explained. It was in the second half in our game against Tennessee a year and a half ago. At that point the game wasn't real competitive and we clearly had fallen behind. And there's nobody on the field working any harder than Josey Jewell and I thought that was so impressive. And to me it was him in his first year on the field. That little snapshot right there told me maybe some great things were ahead. Just to see the effort and tempo in a dire circumstance, to me that's Josey in a nutshell."
Both Beathard and Ferentz dove into the person and player that Jewell is that makes him so respected and reliable.
"He's a guy you want on your team," Beathard noted. "You want to be behind him. You want a guy that's going to put his body on the line and sell out for the team on your team and that's why he's got so much respect and why he's become such a leader on this team."
"As you might imagine by the way he operates, not only in the way he plays on the field in practices but what he does behind the scenes in his training and workouts and those kinds of things, he's so respected on the team," Ferentz pointed out about his standout linebacker. "I think that explains why he's the first sophomore captain we've ever had. Our players vote on that and it wasn't a limp to the finish line, it was an overwhelming choice."
Ferentz also brought up one of his past linebackers as someone that Jewell compares well to in terms of the similarities and background they came from, also admitting their near mistake in not bringing him into the program.
"I don't want to say he's James Morris but there's a lot of parallels between the two, playing in championship games, and having the team really centered around that player," Ferentz described Jewell. "The biggest question with Josey was if he was fast enough to be a linebacker. That just shows you what astute judges of talent that we are because he's more than fast enough. It wasn't all that obvious on the tape, necessarily. (Assistant) Reese Morgan just had a feeling about him and he couldn't have been more right."