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James Morris says he’s playing best football of his career

[ 0 ] October 29, 2013 |

IOWA CITY, Ia. – It’s been nearly a decade since Iowa has had a player named Big Ten Conference defensive player of the week twice in the same season.

Senior linebacker James Morris accomplished that Monday, two days after having two sacks, a fumble recovery and eight tackles (including 2 1/2 for loss) in a 17-10 overtime victory over Northwestern.

Iowa linebacker James Morris reacts after making a sack during the Hawkeyes game against Northwestern at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, October 26, 2013. (Benjamin Roberts / Iowa City Press-Citizen)

Iowa linebacker James Morris reacts after making a sack during the Hawkeyes game against Northwestern at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, October 26, 2013. (Benjamin Roberts / Iowa City Press-Citizen)

“Those are nice honors,” said Morris, who was also honored after the Hawkeyes’ 23-7 victory at Minnesota Sept. 28. “I’m not going about my work or stepping on the field with the goal in mind to be Big Ten defensive player of the week. I just want to do my job and help us win.”

The last Hawkeye to accomplish the double was Jonathan Babineaux in 2004 against Wisconsin and Purdue. Adrian Clayborn was also honored twice in 2009, but one of those was for special teams after he blocked a punt and returned it for a touchdown at Penn State.

Morris, who was also named the Lott IMPACT player of the week on Tuesday, said he’s playing the best football of his career.

“I’m a senior, and I’m pretty experienced,” Morris said. “I’m playing with some pretty good players next to me. And that opens up some opportunities in some aspects of the game. I’m very comfortable with the schemes we’re trying to do and feel like I have a pretty good experience or data bank of references of what other teams are trying to do.”

Morris, who has started since his freshman season, has 357 career tackles. That ranks eighth all-time at Iowa.

“The guy works extremely hard on the practice field,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “He’s unbelievable in terms of his preparation away from the field, away from the building. He’s a great leader, just a great role model to be on the football team. Scary smart student on top of it. Yet he’s a normal guy. I think that’s why he’s able to be a leader.”

And he’s remained healthy to this point of the season.

“I don’t even want to talk about it,” Morris said.

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

About Rick Brown: Rick Brown covers men's basketball for The Des Moines Register and Hawk Central. He's married and the father of two. He also covers golf for the Register. View author profile.

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