While the Hawkeyes fly under the radar in comparison to Ohio State, Penn State or Michigan, a constant that has always kept them in the Big Ten discussion has been a spectacular defense.
These athletes are some of the best defensive players in the University of Iowa's proud history of football.
Here is my take on the Iowa Hawkeyes All-Time defensive team. Hope you enjoy!
To put things in perspective, Mott was the Adrian Clayborn of his day. Big plays happened when he was on the field.
Though he played in all four years of his eligibility, Mott's senior year was outstanding.
By far, his best year was his last for the Hawkeyes as a senior. Mott was named All-Big Ten by the AP and UPI . He led the Big Ten in sacks (10) and was second in tackles-for-loss with 21—which at the time broke Andre Tippett's school record.
Mott forced three fumbles, recovered two and accumulated five passes defended all in his senior year.
He was drafted by the Jets in 1989 as a LB.
It should come as no surprise that Matt Roth made this all-time team. Roth was the epitome of what Iowa Hawkeye defense means—hard working and ferocious.
Roth was a two-time first team All-Big Ten selection and an All-American selection during his senior year. Roth was seen by many as one of the lead pass rushers in the country coming out of his senior year.
Roth acquired 12 sacks in his junior year—only Leroy Smith (18) has ever had more for the Hawkeyes in a single season.
In his senior year, Roth was named to Playboy Magazine's pre-season All-America team—don't worry, his stats backed up the honor.
Roth was fourth in the Big Ten in sacks (8) and tallied 15 tackles for loss (ranked 15th in Big Ten).
For his career, Roth sits third in Iowa's all-time record books in both sacks (30) and tackles-for-loss (43).
Roth was drafted by and currently plays for the Miami Dolphins.
Dave Haight was a three-year first team All-Big Ten selection for the Iowa Hawkeyes and was a first team All-America selection his senior year and a second team selection his junior year.
He sits fourth in career tackles for Iowa with 346.
Haight is only the third Hawkeye since 1979 to serve as team captain for two years.
Haight intimidated opponents to no end—made clear in his senior year as Haight was responsible for 130 yards in penalties called on the Hawkeyes' opponents.
In Haight's junior year, he was named Big Ten defensive lineman of the year. He finished second in voting for the honor in his senior year.
Arguably the best defensive end to bless Iowa football, Jared DeVries, currently of the Detroit Lions, holds school records for career sacks (43) and tackles-for-loss (79).
DeVries was named first team All-Big Ten for three straight seasons and selected as a second team All-American as a junior by Football News.
I have to admit, DeVries is a favorite of mine, having worn No. 94 and returning for a dominant senior year at Iowa—painful hint.
While they played on different sides of the ball—and in different decades—Leroy Smith and Shonn Greene both came out of Sicklerville, New Jersey.
Iowa should focus more recruiting in that fine state. I don't think Rutgers would mind sharing.
Smith was named an All-American, first team all-Big Ten and the Big Ten defensive player of the year as a senior for the 1991, 10-1-1 Hawkeyes.
In that year, Smith set a Big Ten record with 18 sacks—a record that had stood for 14 years.
Smith holds Iowa records for sacks in a game (5) and in a season (18).
Let the awards do the talking:
2003: Named second team All-Big Ten
2004: Named first team All-American by Pro Football Weekly, second team All-American by CNNSI.com and third team All-American by CollegeSportsReport.com. Named first team All-Big Ten, Special Teams Player of the Year and received the Hustle Award for defense.
Take a deep breath...
2005: Iowa's Co-MVP, Iowa permanent team captain, first team All-American by Pro Football Weekly; second team All-American by AP, the Walter Camp Foundation and SI.com; and a first-team All-big Ten selection.
Greenway was a semifinalist for the Chuck Bednarik Defensive Player of the Year Award, semifinalist for the Butkus Award and a quarterfinalist for the Lott Trophy.
Greenway ranked second in the Big Ten and fourth in the nation in tackles per game (13). He ranked fourth in the nation in solo tackles per game (7).
On Iowa's all-time leader boards, Greenway ranks fifth in career tackles (416) and third with total stops in a season (156).
Larry Station was the Hawkeyes' leading tackler in all four of his seasons with the team—the Hawkeyes led the Big Ten in defense in three of those seasons.
In his freshman year, Station only started five games yet accumulated 88 tackles.
In his last three years, Station was selected as a first team All-American and All-Big Ten by multiple sources.
Station was a finalist for the Lombardi and Butkus Awards in his senior year.
Station started 42 straight games and is Iowa's all-time leader in tackles with 492.
The College Football Hall of Fame inducted Station earlier this year.
Andre Tippett may not have had the career numbers the other top linebackers accumulated, but he was a dominant force nonetheless.
After spending a year at Ellsworth Community College (Iowa), Tippett transfered to Iowa and started in his junior and senior seasons.
Tippett was a first team All-Big Ten selection in both his years for the Hawkeyes.
His 153 yardage lost (from tackles for loss) is a Hawkeyes single-season record.
Tippett is one of three Hawkeyes to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Gordon Locke played in an era of football where all athletes were all-around players. He played quarterback, fullback and defensive back.
He really could be brought into a discussion of Hawkeye greats in at least the latter two positions, but for the sake of this article, Locke is going to fall into the defensive back category.
Locke was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1960.
Once upon a time, Mike Stoops was once a hard-hitting safety for the Hawkeyes.
Stoops was a four-year starter and two-time all-Big Ten selection in his time spent at Iowa.
He and his brother Bob were two bright spots in the Hawkeye secondary of the early '80s.
Perhaps one of the most hard-hitting ball hawks in Iowa's history, Bob Sanders is also one of the most memorable for making big plays on defense.
Sanders led the nation in forced fumbles (six) and the Big Ten in fumbles recovered (three).
His 346 career tackles are good for seventh on Iowa's all-time list.
Sanders was an honorable mention All-Big Ten after his freshman year and was named first team All-Big Ten his remaining three years. Sanders was a second team All-American his senior year.
Though his size posed a disadvantage, Sanders played with a lot of heart, and that has always helped him prove doubters wrong.
Paul Krause was the second Iowa player to later be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
In his time at the University of Iowa, Krause pulled double-duty as a wide receiver on offense and cornerback on defense. Though he is known in the professional ranks for the latter position, as a senior, Krause pulled in six touchdown receptions in a single game—tying a Hawkeye record.
Oh, he also played baseball and would have had the option of going pro in that sport too had he not injured his shoulder in a game against Michigan.
Kraus showed the nation his defensive prowess in the NFL. He is the current career interceptions leader with 81.