After only starting one game last year for the Iowa Hawkeyes, cornerback Joshua Jackson is one of the biggest impact players on their defense. The 6’1”, 200 pound redshirt junior has length, physicality, a great demeanor and is coming off the best game of his career.
Big 10 games are classically low scoring boxing matches and Iowa’s 17-10 win over Minnesota was no different. Minnesota had no passing touchdowns and only completed nine passes and the Gophers inefficiency can be largely attributed to Joshua Jackson locking down their wide receivers. Jackson was on the Minnesota receivers like white on rice in a snowstorm. He had four impressive pass breakups, including a key play in the end zone where he batted away a pass directly into the hands of another defender for a turnover.
Jackson is only a one year starter so it will be interesting to see if he trends towards entering the draft. He certainly has the build and tools NFL teams are looking for, even if he may lack the experience. If he continues to play at such a high level, however, the drat does not seem like something that would be out of reach for him.
Other performances of note:
- Ronald Jones, Running Back, USC: Ronald Jones turned in yet another stellar performance against, this time against ASU. On only 18 carries, Jones eclipsed 200 rushing yards and scored two touchdowns. His speed continues to be too much for defenses this year and his ability to break through tackles makes him even more dangerous.
- Harrison Phillips, Defensive Interior, Stanford: Stanford ran into a bit of a scare against a lowly Oregon State team last week but were able to escape due to their defense holding steady for four quarters. Most disruptive was their senior defensive tackle, Harrison Phillips. He was a monster against the run all night and Oregon State was left helpless trying to block him most of the time. The 6’4”, 295 pound defender is up to 3.5 sacks and 7 TFLs this year and he could be this year’s Stanford defender to keep an eye on.
- Maurice Hurst, Defensive Interior, Michigan: Speaking of defensive linemen; Maurice Hurst turned in another stellar performance against Rutgers. He got after the passer and made plays against the run; never giving the Knights a chance to get their day started. Hurst may only have 2.5 sacks this year but his 10 tackles for a loss indicate the type of disruptive player he is.
- Arrion Springs, Cornerback, Oregon: Arrion Springs continues his strong senior season with a three PBU effort against Utah in a blow out win for the Ducks. The impact defender has gotten his hands on at least one pass in all but one game this season and he should be a riser come this spring.
- Tremaine Edmunds, Linebacker, Virginia Tech: One of two Edmunds brothers making plays on the Hokie defense; Tremaine Edmunds turned in a stellar effort against Duke last week. He is a multifaceted weapon on defense who can cover, attack the run and rush the passer. Should be exciting to see his prospects rise.