Darkhorse MVP: Matt Hankins
This one may be coming out of left field for some of you, but hear me out.
Matt Hankins is incredibly talented, and he is just a true junior. In the past four seasons, we’ve seen three juniors bust out at defensive back and go on to win Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year.
Hankins is that good, he just doesn’t have the stats yet. In two seasons with the Iowa football team, he has yet to record an interception, but that is likely to change in 2019, The Hawkeyes are no longer inexperienced at the corner position with Michael Ojemudia, Julius Brents, and Riley Moss all getting playing time last year.
Hopefully, it means quarterbacks have to pick their poison instead of avoiding the half of the field with Hankins on it.
Last season in 8 games played, Hankins recorded 48 tackles and 3 passes defended. I believe in 2019, as long as he stays out of trouble and stays healthy, he will get 4 interceptions, 65 tackles, and 8 passes defended. The media is also on to Hankins as he was named preseason Third Team All-Big Ten this year.
The pass rush is going to be lights out and giving the opposing team zero time to throw the ball. It could result in a few more chances for Hankins.