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Iowa Football: 6 Hawks garner preseason recognition from College Sports Madness

Iowa senior wideout Kevonte Martin-Manley, right, is one of six Hawkeyes to garner preseason recognition from College Sports Madness
Iowa senior wideout Kevonte Martin-Manley, right, is one of six Hawkeyes to garner preseason recognition from College Sports MadnessTroy Hyde

Iowa left tackle Brandon Scherff has garnered plenty of attention this offseason and collected several preseason football honors along the way.

But five of his teammates joined him in getting recognition from College Sports Madness. That list includes defensive tackle Carl Davis, wide receiver Kevonte Martin-Manley, center Austin Blythe, safety John Lowdermilk and cornerback Desmond King.

Scherff, a 6-foot-5, 320-pounder from Denison, Iowa, also collected first-team All-America and all-Big Ten preseason honors earlier this summer. He started all 13 games at left tackle last year and also has been named to the 2014 Rotary Lombardi Award and Outland Trophy preseason watch lists.

Davis is another Iowa player who is projected to be a first-round draft pick in next year’s NFL Draft. The 6-foot-5, 315-pounder from Detroit, Mich., also earned third-team All-America and first-team all-Big Ten preseason honors earlier this summer and finished with 42 tackles last season as a junior.

He also has been named to the 2014 Bednarik Award preseason watch list, the Outland Trophy preseason watch list and the Bronco Nagurski Trophy watch list.

Martin-Manley had a breakout junior season as Iowa’s No. 1 wide receiver and primary punt returner a year ago. He earned second-team all-Big Ten recognition after picking up 314 yards and two touchdowns on 20 punt returns. Those numbers ranked second in the conference and eighth in the nation and Martin-Manley was the first Big Ten Conference player to ever return back-to-back punts for touchdowns last year against Western Michigan, and is just the second player in the last decade with two punt return touchdowns in one quarter.

The senior wideout also has been named to the Paul Hornung watch list.

Blythe is expected, along with Scherff and tackle Andrew Donnal, to anchor an experienced offensive line. The Williamsburg, Iowa, native and returning starting center was a third-team all-Big Ten preseason pick after starting all 13 games for the Hawkeyes last year.

Behind last year’s offensive line that included Blythe and Scherff, the Hawkeye rushing attack reached the 200-yard mark in its first five games.

That same unit also was crucial to the Iowa passing game, which accounted for 2,383 yards and 18 touchdowns and the Hawkeyes allowed 15 sacks, which ranked as the fewest in the Big Ten.

Blythe was also named to the Rimington Trophy Watch List.

In his first year as a starter, Lowdermilk ranked fourth on the Iowa defense with 78 tackles, 36 solo tackles and 4.5 tackles for loss. The senior from Ohio also had a career-high eight solo tackles in his first career start against Northern Illinois last season.

King was a pleasant surprise in Iowa City last year as a true freshman. The Detroit, Mich., cornerback recorded 44 solo tackles, three tackles for loss, eight pass break ups and two recovered fumbles and that garnered him third-team freshman All-America honors by Athlon Sports and first-team all-freshman Big Ten honors by BTN.com.

King, a 5-foot-11, 190-pounder was a third-team all-Big Ten preseason selection this summer

Iowa’s annual media day takes place Monday in Iowa City and the season opener will be August 30 at Kinnick Stadium against Northern Iowa.