Monday, June 05, 2023

Iowa Football: Dallas Clark nominated for NFF 2024 College Football Hall of Fame


Former University of Iowa unanimous Consensus All-American tight end Dallas Clark is listed on the ballot for the National Football Foundation (NFF) 2024 College Football Hall of Fame.



IOWA CITY, IA-- Former Iowa tight end Dallas Clark is one of the most beloved players in the Kirk Ferentz era. On Monday morning, it was announced that he is listed on the ballot for the National Football Foundation 2024 College Football Hall of Fame. It's the third season in a row.


As the Hawkeyes entered a critical 2002 season, Clark's emergence at tight end help change the course of the Ferentz tenure. Clark finished with 43 catches for 742 yards and four touchdowns, while winning the John Mackey Award, which goes to the nation's top tight end. 


Clark departed with a year of eligibility remaining and was drafted in the first round. After being in the NFL for a couple seasons, Clark opened up about some of the differences between college and professional. 

"The pro game is more of a business, yet still a game, it is a business," Clark previously told HawkeyeInsider. "You are your own company so you have to be ready everyday is the best way to explain it. The biggest thing is that it is your job. You get paid for it and have to perform every day for practice and be ready. It is just different that way. That makes it interesting but it is what it is."


Clark remains a fixture in the Hawkeye community. During Iowa's open spring practice, he was recognized for his contribution of $101,000 to the UI’s Stead Family Children’s Hospital. He can often be found at Hawkeye practices and inside Kinnick Stadium. 

Below is the full press release courtesy of Iowa Athletics. 

Former University of Iowa unanimous Consensus All-American tight end Dallas Clark is listed on the ballot for the National Football Foundation (NFF) 2024 College Football Hall of Fame.

Clark in 2002 was named first-team All-America by the Football Writers Association of America, American Football Coaches Association, Walter Camp, Associated Press, Sporting News, ESPN and CNN-SI. He won the John Mackey Award as the nation’s best tight end and was first-team All-Big Ten by both league coaches and media. Clark finished his career in 17th place on Iowa’s career receiving list with 1,281 yards and eight touchdowns on 81 receptions in just two seasons at tight end.


The native of Livermore, Iowa, joined the Iowa program as a walk-on linebacker and was drafted in the first round of the 2003 NFL Draft by Indianapolis following his junior season.

Clark played 11 seasons in the NFL, totaling 5,665 receiving yards and 53 touchdowns while also earning a Super Bowl championship with the Indianapolis Colts.

Former Hawkeye offensive tackle Robert Gallery, a 2003 consensus All-American and recipient of the Outland Trophy, is a member of the 2023 NFF College Football Hall of Fame.

UW Athletic Hall of Fame: Montee Ball


General News June 05, 2023 Nate Jelinek

One of the best running backs in school history now helps teens and young adults in his community

MADISON, Wis. — The first edition of the Big Ten Football Championship Game, in 2011, was an instant classic. In a back and forth affair on the Lucas Oil Stadium turf in Indianapolis, Wisconsin running back Montee Ball scampered for 137 yards and three scores on the ground. In a well-rounded offensive performance, the UW junior also grabbed a touchdown catch and completed a 32-yard pass to quarterback Russell Wilson.

On the other side of the ball, the Badger defense was tasked with containing future NFL stars Kirk Cousins and Le'Veon Bell. Chris Borland, a redshirt sophomore linebacker, made seven tackles.

After a 7-yard Ball touchdown run with 3:45 to play, the UW defense held on to seal the 42-39 victory and send the Badgers to Pasadena for a second consecutive season.

Wisconsin Badgers running back Montee Ball (28) celebrates a victory after the Big Ten Football Championship NCAA football game against the Nebraska Cornhuskers Saturday, December 1, in Indianapolis. The Badgers won 70-31 to send the team to the Rose Bowl.


More than 11 years after that rollercoaster evening in Indy, Ball and Borland grabbed coffee in Madison this spring. Ball, who was in town for a speaking engagement, had time to catch up with his former teammate before his flight home.

"We were drinking coffee and (Chris) asked me what time my flight was," said Ball. "He was like, 'Hey, Mac wants to chat with you.'"

Later that morning, Borland and Ball arrived at Kellner Hall and stepped into the office of Wisconsin Director of Athletics Chris McIntosh, overlooking Camp Randall Stadium. McIntosh shut the door.

"He let me know that I was going to be inducted into the hall of fame," said Ball.

"I was immediately blown back. I was caught off guard. I was not expecting it whatsoever. And of course, I immediately started to tear up, because it means a lot to me."

Borland, who was in on the surprise, stood by as Mac delivered the good news.

"Obviously, Mac had shared it with him," said Ball. "I looked at him and was like 'you son of a gun.' So, it was obviously an amazing moment. They had the Kleenexes ready for me. I was just looking out on the field just reminiscing on everything. It just came at me really quickly and it was again, just a moment that I'll never forget."

Monday, June 5 will be another day Ball will remember for a long time. Not only was that the day Ball's UW Athletic Hall of Fame induction was officially announced but it coincided with the announcement of his inclusion on the 2024 College Football Hall of Fame ballot. He is one of 78 FBS players to be selected for the ballot. If chosen, Ball would be just 13th player in Badger history to be enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame. The voting results will be
announced in January, 2024. 

UW Athletic Hall of Fame: Montee Ball

Top Five

One: In a Badger uniform on Saturdays, Ball assembled one of the most impressive careers for a ball carrier in both UW and college football history. In a Badger football record book that includes legends like Ron Dayne, Jonathan Taylor, Melvin Gordon and James White, Ball ranks third all-time with 5,140 career rushing yards. By splitting time with Gordon, White and John Clay, Ball competed directly for carries with peers who combined for six 1,000-yard seasons and 58 100-yard rushing performances.

In 2011, Ball scored 39 total touchdowns, matching the legendary Barry Sanders' NCAA single-season record. He totaled 1,923 rushing yards, the most in the country, and was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy. That fall belonged to Ball.

"We had such an emphasis in 2011, starting from summer conditioning and into training camp, where we just told each other that when we get the opportunity to score, we must score a touchdown," said Ball. "We must finish the drive. We wanted to dominate, we wanted to score."

Ball went on to finish his Wisconsin career with a school record 77 rushing touchdowns and a then-FBS record 83 total touchdowns.

Two: As part of that historic 2011 season, Ball's performance in the Big Ten Championship helped propel the Badgers to the Rose Bowl. Ball remembers the matchup against Michigan State in Indianapolis as one of the greatest games he played in.

"Watching the fans travel to Indianapolis and fill the stadium, seeing the scene in there, and just the emotions from that game, those are things I'll never forget."

After a last-second defeat at the hands of the Spartans in East Lansing earlier in the season, the revenge was sweet for the Badgers.

"I love that Michigan State memory because we wanted to get that revenge so bad on them from that Hail Mary. We were able to get that revenge."

The Badgers then ascended on Southern California for the Rose Bowl, the second of three that Ball would play in during his career. Ball totaled three separate 100-yard rushing performances in those games, the only player in the illustrious history of the 'Granddaddy of Them All' to accomplish that feat.

Three: The big moments in those seasons were shared with teammates who bought in and worked to be part of something bigger than themselves.

"We had some great players on both sides of the football," he said. "We were really just flowing as a unit. In practice, we were focused. In the film room, we were focused. In 2011, I really think Russell (Wilson) brought that over to us. It helped us get over that hump of really becoming a dominant team and I think that's what we did."

Looking back, Ball recognizes the support and guidance he received from teammates and the coaching staff as the Badgers flourished in the early 2010s.

"I think when you look at those 2010-2012 seasons, I really believe Barry (Alvarez), Coach (Bret) Bielema and the coaching staff did a great job of putting people in the right positions to really allow us to be successful."

When reflecting on his career, Ball was quick to credit others for their impact on his career and legacy. The greatness inside those Badger running back rooms helped Ball make his mark as a generational talent.

"With those running backs that were in the room with me, I believe there's no way that I'd be in consideration for the Hall of Fame if it wasn't for those guys pushing me. I had to perform better in order to just be on the field because that's how good they were."

Off the field, Ball recognized that his support group helped pave the way for his success between the lines.

"I also want to thank my family. My parents, my sisters, my grandmother, my uncle and every single person who supported me throughout my whole journey from a young age. This honor is something I'm sharing with them as well."

Four: Ball's experience with dark days and adversity is part of his personal journey as well. With the highs of his athletic career, collegiately and professionally, Ball also dealt with lows that included bouts with alcoholism.

Through the many trials and tribulations Ball weathered during his career as a Badger, an NFL player and as a person, the recognition from his alma mater provided a full-circle moment. Ball, who was emotional upon learning of his inclusion into the UW Athletic Hall of Fame, wasn't sure this day would ever come.

"I didn't think this would be in the works for me," he said. "Let's just call a spade a spade here, I've made some mistakes that I've made amends about and that I've taken ownership for. I'm still in long-term recovery to this day. So, today this means so much. When I signed my letter of intent to become a Badger, I was told that once you're a Badger, you're always a Badger. I think this right here, proves it."

Five: These days, Ball is living in Denver and working as a licensed realtor and a clinical outreach ambassador at Sandstone Care, a treatment facility.

"My day-to-day, is not only focused on myself and my son, Maverick, but outside of that, I give back to communities," said Ball. "And now, what I'm doing, is giving back to teens and young adults, regarding addiction treatment. It fills my cup as well. And that's what I'm going to keep doing.

"And now I can say I'm a Hall of Fame running back at the University of Wisconsin."

Thursday, June 01, 2023

How Jaguars’ 1st Rounder Anton Harrison Is Transitioning to Right Tackle


The 21-year-old is impressing coaches and teammates early on in his transition to the right side.


14 HOURS AGO (May 31, 2023)


When Anton Harrison took his first collegiate start at right tackle, he did it with zero practice reps at the spot. 

His first NFL start on the right side will be a complete 180, with the Jaguars preparing Harrison months in advance for his switch to the right side. 

"It's going good, just taking it day by day, like you said, just being in one spot. So I'm at right tackle every day just getting better at it, perfecting my craft. Just taking it day by day," Harrison told Jaguar Report after practice on Tuesday. "It is going good."

Harrison started 23 games at left tackle for Oklahoma over the last two seasons, standing out as one of the nation's top pass protectors at an early age. His first reps with the Jaguars will be at a position he has just one start under his belt, starting at right tackle opposite of veteran left tackles Walker Little and Cam Robinson.

But it is a transition Harrison and the Jaguars have been confident about from Day One. Harrison is a player the Jaguars fell in love with during the draft process thanks to his athleticism, makeup, and long-term potential as a versatile and efficient pass-blocker. 

And through Harrison's first month as a full-time right tackle, he hasn't disappointed. 

"Anton's a smart guy. He's really, I listened to Coach Rausher in his meetings and he'll call on Anton, he's got the answers, he spits it out and now it's just a matter of just speeding it up on the field," Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson said on Tuesday. It's the NFL and things happen a little bit faster. So he's done a nice job."

"It is big I say just to be able to come on here and play ball. Having the mental part and playbook part down just staying my books, staying ready when my number's called, being out there and be able to perform," Harrison said. 

"So that's big for me to keep doing that so I'm just gonna play ball and do what I do."

The youngest member of the Jaguars' starting offensive line, Harrison has no shortage of valuable resources inside the offensive line room. And so far, the No. 27 overall pick has been the kind of willing learner the Jaguars need him to be if he is to be a rookie starter in Week 1.

"Coach is always saying ask anything. No question is a bad question. So just always going to them if any questions I have just trying to get everything down," Harrison said. 

Among the veterans Harrison will be able to pick up tools of the trade from are Robinson, Little, and Josh Wells. Among them, the three have started 111 games at offensive tackle. Those are years of experience Harrison can draw from throughout the offseason, something the rookie seems more than willing to do.

"They have been great. They are always just harping on me, teaching me things, helping me like get the playbook down really," Harrison said. 

"Just teaching me the little things to help me be my best on the field. So those guys I lean on, try to get everything from them, because I see them on Sundays and doing what they do. So I'm just trying to get where they are."

Then there is the Brandon Scherff factor. Scherff was one of the most important pieces to Luke Fortner's success as a rookie, offering a reliable and steady presence on and off the field at right guard.

A year later, the Jaguars hope Scherff's presence will do the same for Harrison and his switch to right tackle.

"It's huge. I mean it's huge. It's critical. It's a lot of communication that goes on up front as you know. And Brandon really kind of can help calm him down just a little bit and kind of point him in the right direction," Pederson said.

"Brandon's done a nice job working next to him and that'll be a really good combination to continue to work.”

"It has been big. Growing up watching him, an All-Pro. Great person off the field, on the field, a great person to lean on and learn from. Always talking, always getting knowledge for you," Harrison said. "So that is big for me, just coming in playing next to a guy like that is definitely just a huge bonus."

When Week 1 comes around, the Jaguars will need Harrison to be ready to start at right tackle. And if his preparation in May and the veteran presence around him mean anything, then their rookie tackle is in good hands. 

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