Higgins is among the Dick Butkus Award semifinalists while Jackson, in his first year with the Hawkeyes, is playing like he has been in the system and running this scheme since he left high school.
Jackson joined Iowa this offseason after spending his first three seasons at the University of Virginia where he earned All-ACC accolades. He put up monster defensive statistics just like he is doing at Iowa.
He came to Iowa after entering the transfer portal and now ESPN puts Jackson as one of the 10 most underrated portal moves of this college football season.
Jackson was an obvious choice for middle linebacker, a second-team All-ACC selection at Virginia with 33 starts, 354 career tackles and an ACC-best 10.4 tackles per game in 2022. Plus, Iowa had recruited him a bit out of high school.
But Jackson isn’t playing in the middle for Iowa, instead occupying the weak-side position, where he has produced as expected. Jackson ranks second on the team in both tackles (72) and tackles for loss (5.5), while leading Iowa in forced fumbles (2). – Adam Rittenberg, ESPN
Nick Jackson’s play isn’t solely labeled by the statistics. His presence is felt sideline to sideline, which doesn’t show up directly in stats, but, when watching him play, he covers a lot of ground in a short amount of time.
As Rittenberg also stated, Higgins and Jackson have tallied 185 combined tackles. That is tops among Power Five teams across the nation. The two are instrumental in Iowa’s run defense which is allowing just 3.27 yards per rush and has only given up one rushing touchdown all year.
Follow Riley on Twitter: @rileydonald7
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