The Hawkeyes were just beginning a solid decade of dominance in college football. Cal Jones just strengthened that dominance from the interior of the offensive line. Jones was superior as an offensive lineman for the Hawkeyes and a bright spot on those early 1950s teams that were just gaining their footing.
As an offensive lineman, he was named First-Team All-American three times, with two of those being consensus and he managed to finish 10th in the 1955 Heisman Trophy voting.
Even though times were a bit different back then, an offensive lineman being even considered for the Heisman is incredibly rare, but that’s the kind of player Jones was for the Hawks. He even received a first overall vote.
Jones’ impact on the field expanded beyond it too, as he became the first African-American to win the coveted Outland Trophy, given to the nation’s best defensive player. He became the first college player to ever be on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
After college, Jones played one year of professional football before being killed in a plane accident. Posthumously, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame and the Iowa Sports Hall of Fame and the University of Iowa retired his No. 62.