The AP midseason All-American team has been released, and per usual, the Iowa football team got no love and had no representation.
I realize the Iowa football team has had plenty of All-Americans and inside football circles, the Iowa football team is a well-respected program. The media, maybe not, but there is love for the Iowa football team. It just takes a bit longer to receive than a Michigan or an Ohio State.
If Michigan goes 6-0, they’re a national title contender. If the Iowa football team starts 6-0, people question the schedule first and then look to see which game they’ll mess up.
It’s just how it is, and Hawks have to work a bit harder to prove themselves so stuff like midseason All-American teams aren’t going to be as strongly represented by our beloved Hawks as it may be later in the year.
So I guess it wasn’t much of a surprise to see zero Iowa football players on this year’s midseason All-American team.
I, however, would have included two Iowa football players on the list and could see an argument for a third.
Tristan Wirfs, first and foremost, has been as advertised coming into this season. He’s moved between right tackle and left tackle and has been outstanding for the Iowa football team. His performance through six games should make him a lock to go in the top-15 of the NFL Draft. Instead, we get two blue-blood program guys (Alabama and Georgia) and two others who play for teams that beat up on the weak competition in the Pac-12 (Washington and Oregon).
The other guy I would include is Geno Stone. He’s been a glue guy for the Iowa football team’s top-10 defense. Yeah, he isn’t leading the nation in interceptions or highlight plays, but neither did Amani Hooker. These two are the aren’t the same player, but their value shows in similar ways in the sense that it’s not necessarily in the stats but in how the rest of the team performs with them in the lineup.
How else could you explain Iowa’s passing defense ranking seventh in the nation despite having dealt with an immense amount of injuries that left the secondary decimated and down to playing their 5th and 6th corners in meaningful snaps?
Personally, and I’ll admit I am a bit biased, but Stone deserves to be the Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year and he should be an All-American alongside Tristan Wirfs.
Now, on to the last guy, AJ Epenesa.
No, Epenesa shouldn’t be on this list, but honestly, he’s still close. His sack totals won’t be as high as that of Chase Youngs but like Stone, Epenesa is the glue of that defensive line. He allows the rest of the defensive line to see one on one blocking throughout the game.
If he can put together a few game-changing, ESPN highlight plays in the second half of the season, I think you could argue he even deserves a spot on this list.