247Sports projects the Iowa Hawkeyes as a top-five defense nationally in 2022

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Brad Crawford of 247Sports is not buying into the idea of Iowa’s defense regressing in 2022 one bit. In his latest ranking of his projected top 10 defenses in the country for 2022, Crawford has the Hawkeyes high on his list at No. 4 nationally.

One of the pace of play kings in the Big Ten as it relates to exactly what Iowa wants to do, the Hawkeyes mastered turnover margin in 2021 with 31 takeaways, seven more than their next closest competitor in the conference. Absurd. Nine starters return from a defense that swiped 25 interceptions. One of those top veterans is Jack Campbell, who has a chance to lead college football in total tackles if he stays healthy. Riley Moss is back too after earning the Big Ten’s Defensive Back of the Year honors despite missing a quarter of the season with an injury. Defensive coordinator Phil Parker has to look at this roster and smile heading into the opener. – Crawford, 247Sports.

It seems that Crawford doesn’t have the same fears about the Hawkeyes’ turnover margin that Maize N Brew has. While Maize N Brew worries about Iowa replicating their success in the turnovers department, Crawford recognizes just how many of those playmakers are returning. It may not be the same absurd amount from last year, but it is safe to assume that with so many players returning, the Hawkeyes will still generate a lot of takeaways.

It isn’t just turnovers that makes Iowa a top unit. They were 13th in the nation in points allowed per game with 19.2. They also only allowed 4.72 yards per play, good for seventh nationally. The Hawkeyes aren’t just a boom or bust defense, taking the ball away but still letting up scores. They can dismantle opposing offenses, and largely did besides Michigan last year. With a ton of playmakers coming back next year, led by star linebacker Jack Campbell and cornerback Riley Moss, look for Iowa to potentially be even better on defense this season.

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Story originally appeared on Hawkeyes Wire