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Iowa LB Jack Campbell's Grandfather William Smith Jr. Dies Before Music City Bowl

Erin WalshDecember 31, 2022

Iowa linebacker Jack Campbell runs on the field during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Wisconsin, Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022, in Iowa City, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

Iowa senior linebacker Jack Campbell helped the Hawkeyes defeat the Kentucky Wildcats on Saturday in the Music City Bowl in Nashville, but the 22-year-old received some devastating news afterward.

Campbell's grandfather, William Smith Jr., who was 76, died Friday night after a car struck him as a pedestrian, per ESPN's Adam Rittenberg. He was transported to Vanderbilt Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

Campbell's parents decided not to tell him until after the game so he could have "one last time to play with his Iowa Hawkeye teammates," the school said, via Adam Hensley of Hawk Central.

Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said in a statement:

"Our hearts are with Jack and his entire family as they grieve the tragic death of their grandfather and father, William Smith, Jr. We know Mr. Smith was a strong influence on his grandson and a faithful Hawkeye football supporter. All of us -- players, coaches and staff members -- will keep the Campbell family in our thoughts and prayers during this profoundly difficult time."

Campbell played a significant role in Iowa's 21-0 win over Kentucky, posting one sack, 10 tackles and two tackles for a loss.

He had an outstanding 2022 campaign for the Hawkeyes. In 12 games entering the Music City Bowl, he had posted one pass breakup, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, two interceptions, 115 tackles and 3.5 tackles for a loss.

Campbell was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and also became the first Hawkeye to take home the Butkus Award as the nation's top linebacker.