Iowa football: 30 greatest players in Hawkeyes history

Ricky Stanzi, Iowa Hawkeyes. (Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images)
Ricky Stanzi, Iowa Hawkeyes. (Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images) /
16 of 31
Bob Sanders, Indianapolis Colts
Bob Sanders, Indianapolis Colts. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images) /

While some players are on this list because of impressive personal accomplishments while playing for the Iowa football team, others such as Bob Sanders are here because they changed a culture.

Sanders patrolled the Hawkeyes secondary for four seasons and earned the moniker hitman for his ability to destroy anyone attempting to catch a ball near him.

At 5-foot-11 and 205 pounds, Sanders embodied what it means to be an Iowa football player. Lightly recruited, undersized and a bit slow coming out of high school, Sanders worked his way into becoming one of the most dominating safeties in college football and eventually the NFL, where he played eight seasons and was named the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year.

In his four years in Iowa City, he was Honorable Mention All-Big Ten once and First-Team All-Big Ten three times, as well as being named Second-Team All-American his senior season.

During Sanders’ tenure, the Iowa football team went from 3-9 in his freshman season to having back-to-back 10-win seasons and winning the 2003 Outback Bowl.

His value to the program is immense, which is why he is our 16th best player in Iowa football history.