Alex Karras is the best defensive lineman to ever play for the Hawkeyes, no question about it. He was a two-time First-Team All-American for the Hawkeyes in 1956 and 1957. During his time as a full-time starter, the Iowa football team went 16-2, making their first appearance in the Rose Bowl, which the Hawkeyes also won.
His dominance on the defensive line led him to be a runner-up in the 1957 Heisman Trophy race and winning the Outland Trophy, given to the nation’s best interior lineman.
After playing for the Hawkeyes, Karras made a successful transition to the NFL where he was a nine-time All-Pro and four-time Pro Bowler, while playing in 161 games. His transition after football might be what he is best known for though as he developed into an incredibly successful actor post-football.
He was inducted in the Iowa Sports Hall of Fame in 1977 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 1991.
It was tough to not include him in the top four, otherwise known as the Mount Rushmore of, players in Iowa history but his level of play does get him right in the top five of the top 30 Hawkeyes of all time.