Who’s the best Iowa player not in the College Football Hall of Fame?
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Who should be the next Iowa Hawkeye inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame?
— Land of 10 Iowa (@Landof10Iowa) June 20, 2018
ANSWER: Iowa boasts 25 consensus All-Americans, nine of whom have been enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame.
Running back Nile Kinnick and lineman Duke Slater were inducted into the 1951 inaugural class. Later, fullback Gordon Locke (1960), quarterback Aubrey Devine (1973), lineman Cal Jones (1980), lineman Alex Karras (1991), quarterback Randy Duncan (1997), quarterback Chuck Long (1999) and linebacker Larry Station (2009) joined Kinnick and Slater. Coaches Forest Evashevski (2000) and Hayden Fry (2003) also are members.
Several other Iowa players are deserving of Hall of Fame consideration. Tight end Dallas Clark and tackle Robert Gallery appear on this year’s ballot, and the class will be announced in January. Clark won the 2002 John Mackey Award, which is given to the nation’s best tight end. Gallery claimed the 2003 Outland Trophy, which is given to the top interior lineman. Both were instrumental in leading the Hawkeyes to the 2002 co-Big Ten championship and an Orange Bowl berth.
Others nominated previously include kick returner/receiver Tim Dwight, a 1997 All-American, in 2014 and 2016, and defensive end Andre Tippett, a 1981 All-American who joined Dwight on the 2016 ballot. Punter Reggie Roby, a two-time All-American, inexplicably has been left off previous ballots. Another former Iowa player worthy of consideration is defensive tackle Jared DeVries, a 1998 All-American.
In this poll, which asked fans to pick the next member of the Hawkeyes to be inducted in the Hall of Fame, Dwight edged Clark and Roby. All three, along with Gallery, are Iowa natives. Dwight grew up in Iowa City and was perhaps the greatest high school football player in state history. Dwight immediately became a fan favorite at Iowa and one of the nation’s best players. In 1997, Dwight was named a consensus All-American for his dazzling special teams play and finished seventh in Heisman Trophy balloting. He led the nation in punt return yardage (16.7) that year, which was down from his 1996 average of 18.3.
When Dwight left Iowa, he owned Big Ten records for career punt return yardage (1,102), punt returns for touchdowns in a season (3) and career (5). He was just as dynamic as a wide receiver, ranking second in Iowa history with 2,271 yards and 21 receiving touchdowns and eighth in career catches (139).
Roby, a Waterloo native, twice led the nation in punting and was a consensus All-American in 1981. At the time he left Iowa, Roby held the NCAA record for single-season average at 49.84 yards per punt in 1981. He also was No. 2 with a 48.1-yard punting average in 1982. His 1981 average still ranks second among FBS punters.
Inexplicably, Roby did not earn consensus honors as a senior. He was first-team All-Big Ten both years and was second-team All-Big Ten as a freshman in 1979. His 1981 effort helped the Hawkeyes earn a co-Big Ten championship and a Rose Bowl berth.
Clark, who is from Livermore, Iowa, initially walked on at Iowa as a grayshirt recipient at linebacker. He moved to tight end for the 2001 season and became the difference-maker in an offensive juggernaut. In 2002, Clark burst on the scene with a 95-yard touchdown reception against Purdue. He caught the ball at the Iowa 7-yard line, turned up the left sideline and then raced untouched to match the longest touchdown pass in Iowa history. Later in the game, Clark hauled in a fourth-down 7-yard catch for the game-winning touchdown.
Clark finished the 2002 season with 43 catches for 732 yards and 4 touchdowns. He was a consensus All-American and earned the Mackey Award. In two seasons, Clark caught 81 passes for 1,281 yards and 8 touchdowns.
Gallery, who comes from Winthrop, did not allow a sack in his final 36 games at Iowa. In 2003, Gallery won the Outland Trophy and was a unanimous first-team All-American. That year, he recorded 132 key blocks or knockdowns, according to www.nfldraftscout.com. His final two seasons, he was responsible for 27 blocks leading to touchdowns.
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