Iowa picked to finish second in West, Cooper DeJean named Big Ten Preseason Defensive POTY

Iowa’s Cooper DeJean was selected as preseason Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, and the Hawkeyes were picked to finish second in the Big Ten West in the Cleveland.com preseason media poll.
Though receiving fewer first-place votes than Illinois' Jer’Zhan “Johnny” Newton, DeJean racked up more total points. DeJean was stellar on an elite Iowa defense last season, picking off five passes, including three that he returned for touchdowns. He is expected to be a major part of Iowa’s defense in 2023.
Last year, Iowa’s Jack Campbell was selected as the Big Ten preseason Defensive Player of the Year and ended up winning the award. DeJean will look to follow in his footsteps.
Preseason Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year
Cooper DeJean, DB, Iowa (6 first-place votes) 42 points
Jer’Zhan “Johnny” Newton, DT, Illinois (7) 41
Tommy Eichenberg, LB, Ohio State (6) 29
J.T. Tuimoloau, DE, Ohio State (5) 28
Kalen King, DB, Penn State (1) 22
Abdul Carter, LB, Penn State (5) 20
Chop Robinson, DE, Penn State (3) 13
Denzel Burke, CB, Ohio State (1) 7
(tie) Junior Colson, LB, Michigan (1) and Will Johnson, CB, Michigan (1) 5
Mike Hall, DT, Ohio State (1) 3
(tie) Cal Haladay, LB, Michigan State and Jack Sawyer, DE, Ohio State 2
(tie) Maema Njongmeta, LB, Wisconsin; Tyler Nubin, DB, Minnesota and Nick Scourton (formerly Caraway), LB, Purdue 1
In the Big Ten preseason poll, Wisconsin was picked to win the West, narrowly beating out Iowa, and Michigan was picked to win the East. Michigan was the favorite to win the Big Ten.
Big Ten West
Wisconsin (20 first-place votes) 233
Iowa (16) 232
Minnesota (1) 176
Illinois 152
Nebraska 116
Purdue 89
Northwestern 38
Big Ten East
Michigan (27 first-place votes) 248
Ohio State (8) 226
Penn State (2) 192
Maryland 143
Michigan State 105
Rutgers 74
Indiana 48
Big Ten championship game predictions
Michigan over Wisconsin (15)
Michigan over Iowa (11)
Michigan over Minnesota (1)
Ohio State over Iowa (4)
Ohio State over Wisconsin (4)
Penn State over Iowa (1)
Penn State over Wisconsin (1)
This season’s poll was released ahead of Big Ten Media Days on Wednesday and Thursday at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Iowa football’s representatives are coach Kirk Ferentz as well as players DeJean, Jay Higgins and Luke Lachey.
There are considerable expectations for Iowa heading into the 2023 season. A defense that was dominant in 2022 is returning a handful of key contributors, including DeJean, Logan Lee, Deontae Craig and Joe Evans. There is cautious optimism that Iowa’s offense could be improved with the addition of Michigan QB transfer Cade McNamara and Ohio State WR transfer Kaleb Brown, along with the return of standout RB Kaleb Johnson.
Iowa was also picked second in the West by last year's preseason poll and finished third. The Hawkeyes will try to avoid a repeat of that in 2023.

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