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) /
2 of 31
T.J. Hockenson, Iowa Hawkeyes
T.J. Hockenson, Iowa Hawkeyes. (Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images) /

Nailing down the final spot on the list of the top 30 players in the history of the Iowa football program was no easy feat. Recency bias may have been a factor, but what T.J. Hockenson did this past season was nothing short of incredible.

As a redshirt sophomore, Hockenson caught 49 passes for 760 yards and 6 touchdowns and it earned him quite a few conference and national awards. The Chariton, Iowa native was First-Team All-Big Ten, Second-Team All-American, the Ozzie Newsome Award Winner, the John Mackey Award Winner and the Kwalick-Clark Tight End of the Year.

Although his tenure with the Hawkeyes was short (he redshirted his freshman year), he made a profound impact on the Iowa football program that is already paying immediate dividends, as Kirk Ferentz and his staff attempt to recruit tight ends in the class of 2020. Hockenson’s season along with running mate Noah Fant’s season and former Hawkeye George Kittle’s Pro Bowl year solidified Iowa’s spot as Tight End U.

After his impressive season, Hockenson became the third-highest draft pick from the Hawkeyes in the modern era of professional football when he was selected No. 8 overall by the Detroit Lions in the 2019 NFL Draft.

His time in Iowa City may have been short, but the pure dominance of his final season, including the collection of numerous national awards is what got him the 30th spot on this list.