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Defensive Players to Watch: Texas @ Iowa State


Iowa State v Cincinnati Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

This will never get old. SeC! sEc! SeC!

Iowa State: Air Tampa

Now for those of you who have ESPN+, I strongly encourage going and reading the articles they have published about T.J. Tampa and our secondary. Tampa is part of a defensive secondary that ranks 13th in defensive SP+, 17th in passing success rate allowed, 10th in completion rate, and eighth in interception rate. We could go on to say that the secondary as a whole is great, but Tampa is a whole other animal. So far this season, T.J. Tampa has allowed 4.3 yards per catch while being the closest defender, along with 33 tackles, two interceptions, seven pass deflections, and locking down an entire side of the field. T.J. will have his hands full on Saturday night going up against the likes of Xavier Worthy and Adonai Mitchell who both have gone over the half-century mark for the season with a great performance potentially boosting his draft stock.

Texas: Jaylan Ford

Jaylan Ford is a versatile linebacker for Texas, who excels in multiple aspects of the game. He has been a key contributor to the team’s defense, with 74 tackles, one sack, one forced fumble, one recovery, two interceptions, and one pass deflection this season. He has been recognized as a Preseason Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and Preseason All-Big 12 player. Jaylan is also on the watch list for several awards, and he currently serves as the captain of the defense.

Jaylan has a wealth of experience, having played in almost all games since stepping foot in Arlington. He started his college football journey on special teams in his freshman year and gradually moved up to becoming their starting linebacker in 2022. In the 2022 campaign, he was named third-team All-American by the Associated Press, first-team All-Big 12, and Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Defensive Player of the Year. With his versatility, it will be important for Iowa State to keep track of when he’s pressuring, or dropping back into coverage.