IOWA CITY, Iowa - - Former University of Iowa defensive end Adrian Clayborn will serve as honorary captain Saturday when Iowa hosts Illinois at Kinnick Stadium (11:01 a.m., BTN) for Homecoming. Clayborn is in his seventh season in the NFL, currently playing for the Atlanta Falcons.
Clayborn, a native of St. Louis, Missouri (Webster Groves HS), was a four-year letterman (2007-10), helping the Hawkeyes earn bowl wins following his final three seasons. The Hawkeyes won the 2009 Outback Bowl over South Carolina, 2010 Orange Bowl over Georgia Tech, and 2010 Insight Bowl over Missouri. He was named the MVP of Iowa’s 24-14 Orange Bowl win over Georgia Tech.
Clayborn was named a consensus All-American as a senior, and earned first team All-Big Ten honors as a junior and senior. He was a permanent team captain as both a junior and senior. Iowa posted an overall record of 34-17 during Clayborn’s career, earning a tie for second in the Big Ten in 2009. Clayborn started the final 30 games of his career, recording 192 career tackles, including 37.5 tackles for loss and 19 sacks. He had three blocked kicks, returning a blocked punt for a touchdown in a 21-10 win at fourth-ranked Penn State in 2009.
As a junior, Clayborn was named national Defensive Player of the Year by the College Football Performance Awards. As a senior he was a finalist for the Ted Hendricks Award and the Rotary Lombardi Award, along with being a semifinalist for the Bednarik Award. He was invited to the Senior Bowl following his final season with the Hawkeyes.
Clayborn was the 20th player selected in the 2011 NFL Draft, being taken by Tampa Bay. After four seasons with the Buccaneers, he is in his third season with Atlanta. Clayborn started 16 games in 2015 in his first season in Atlanta and started 13 games last season as the Falcons advanced to the Super Bowl. A playoff injury kept Clayborn from playing in the Super Bowl.
Clayborn has played in 65 games in his NFL career, including starting all 16 games as a rookie with Tampa Bay in 2011. He has amazed over 150 career tackles, with 22.5 sacks and five fumble recoveries. The Falcons are 3-1 to start the 2017 season.
Clayborn will accompany the Iowa captains to the center of the field for Saturday’s pregame coin toss. He will also be with the Hawkeyes in the locker room before and after the game.