Iowa’s top defensive back under Kirk Ferentz: Bob Sanders, Desmond King or Josh Jackson
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Tough poll today: Who is the best DB of the Ferentz era?
— Land of 10 Iowa (@Landof10Iowa) May 15, 2018
ANSWER: In a spirited debate among fans, Iowa safety Bob Sanders was voted as the best defensive back in the Kirk Ferentz era according to our Twitter poll. Sanders was a game-changing strong safety from 2000-03 and his play was defined by his ferocious hits and tenacious play.
Three times Sanders was named first-team All-Big Ten and he was a second-team All-American as a senior. Sanders finished his career with 348 tackles, the most by an Iowa defensive back. In his final game at Kinnick Stadium, Sanders registered 16 tackles and forced 3 fumbles against Minnesota. While Sanders doesn’t have a painting hung in the All-America room at the Iowa football complex, he’s perhaps the ultimate fan favorite of the Ferentz era.
While fans didn’t choose Desmond King, his resume was the most impressive of any defensive back in the Ferentz era. King won the Thorpe Award as the nation’s top defensive back in 2015 and was a unanimous first-team All-American. As a senior, he was named either a first- or second-team All-American by every primary outlet. King started a school-record 51 games and played in two others. He intercepted 14 passes to tie for fourth in program history. King tied a school record with 8 interceptions in 2015 and also tied the Iowa mark by returning 3 interceptions for touchdowns in his career.
Like King, Josh Jackson was a unanimous first-team All-American following the 2017 season. Jackson joined King, Lou King and Nile Kinnick for the school’s single-season interception record with 8, which led the nation. Jackson also defended 26 passes, which was the second-highest total nationally since 2008. Jackson intercepted 3 passes against Ohio State and followed up with a pair of pick-6s against Wisconsin the next week.
Choosing among these three players is like picking your favorite dessert. Was it your grandmother’s chocolate chip cookies when you were a child? Was it your favorite type of pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving? Was it the incredible slice of cake you had on vacation? It’s all relative. Such is the same with this vote.
Here are some of your opinions:
It’s like picking your favorite child. Sanders different position than other two. Imagine the debate between Jackson and King if Jackson had returned and had a similar year
— NemeToad (@NemeToad) May 15, 2018
Sanders role in creating the culture of “The Bullies of the Big Ten” is really hard to value. He didn’t have the nat’l accolades but he was “Iowa Football under KF” before “Iowa Football under KF” was ‘a thing’. He was a human WMD.
— SuckItUp, Buttercup! (@iahawk72) May 15, 2018
Demond was the best! Especially since Iowa got him as a favor!
— GlenWorley (@GlenWorley4) May 15, 2018
All 3 great, but Bob just changed games with his hitting- imo opposing players truly feared him. ‘They don’t run so fast across the middle after being destroyed by Bob’.
— JackAttack001 (@Attack001Jack) May 15, 2018
Going with King, although certainly a close call. If you factor in kick returning impact too…King by a wider margin.
— Milt Bossch (@mbossch14) May 15, 2018
I watched every game that all three of them played at Iowa, and I picked King in this poll.
Also, I’d pick Lebron over MJ 😏
— Milt Bossch (@mbossch14) May 15, 2018
Bob Sanders NFL defensive player of the year and superbowl champ. Say no more.
— Jason Gucfa (@Goldengucfa) May 15, 2018
Have to agree. Watched all – all were at top of their game. Bob hit as hard as anyone I've seen and had a presence. Jackson last year was as lockdown as I've seen at Iowa.
— Jason Schoon (@JasonSchoon) May 15, 2018
Hogwash I watched all three Sanders was great but when I pick a db I’m thinking lock down corner and nobody at Iowa was better than dez
— greg german (@germ08) May 15, 2018
King had the best resume. Sanders was on another level of wow. Fun to think about.
— Adam Kramer (@KegsnEggs) May 15, 2018
It’s really not even a fair competition because Sanders played 8 years in the league, was a 2x pro bowler, 2x All Pro, super bowl champ, and DPOY. The jury is still out on the youngsters in this poll even though they’re very talented & promising.
— Scott Slutzker (@Hawk84Scott) May 15, 2018
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