A closer look at the Hawkeyes in the Super Bowl
With the Super Bowl about to start, we thought it would be fun to take a closer look at the Hawkeyes that will be playing in the big game, how their recruitment came together when they were in high school, their career at Iowa and so far in the NFL, plus a whole lot more.
Starting with the Rams, safety Jake Gervase has carved out a role on special teams after joining the team as an undrafted free agent in 2019. This year in the playoffs, he played 12 snaps in the win over the 49ers, 19 snaps in the win over the Buccaneers, and 19 snaps in the win over the Cardinals. Wearing #43, watch for Gervase on punt coverage, kickoff coverage, punt return, and kickoff return.
At Iowa, Gervase was a team captain as a fifth year senior in 2018 and earned honorable mention All-Big Ten honors after racking up 89 tackles, seven pass breakups, and four interceptions. Gervase also started at free safety as a junior in 2017, finishing with 58 tackles, six pass breakups, and three interceptions, and played on special teams as a freshman and sophomore.
Coming to Iowa as a preferred walk-on in the Class of 2014, Gervase chose the Hawkeyes over a walk-on opportunity from Boston College and a scholarship offer from Air Force. At Davenport Assumption, Gervase showed his playmaking ability on both sides of the ball in high school with 60 tackles and an impressive eight interceptions on defense as a senior plus 1,006 yards passing, 985 yards rushing, and 18 touchdowns on offense.
Wearing #68, offensive tackle Alaric Jackson joined the Rams as an undrafted free agent in 2021. A reserve offensive lineman, Jackson appeared in four games during the regular season including extensive action at left tackle in week 16 when starter Andrew Whitworth was out with COVID-19 and performed well, allowing no sacks in 52 snaps against the Vikings. In the playoffs, Jackson played five snaps in the Rams' win over the 49ers with a role upfront blocking on the field goal team.
At Iowa, Jackson was a four-year starter for the Hawkeyes, finishing his career with 42 career starts at left tackle. As a senior, he was named first-team All-Big Ten by both the coaches and the media in 2020 after earning second-team and third-team honors earlier in his career.
Coming out of high school, Jackson was a three-star recruit in the Class of 2016 and chose the Hawkeyes late in the recruiting process, making it official on signing day, after considering a late scholarship offer from Michigan as well as offers from Iowa State, Nebraska, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Purdue, Rutgers, Syracuse, Cincinnati, Kentucky, Illinois, and Kansas, among others.
Wearing #76 for the Bengals, defensive tackle Mike Daniels was elevated from the practice squad to the active roster this past week, which may give the veteran a chance to play in his first Super Bowl. After starting 11 games for Cincinnati last season, Daniels has battled injuries this year and appeared in just two regular season games with one start. Prior to his stint with the Bengals, Daniels played one season for the Lions and seven years for the Packers, who drafted him in the fourth round in 2012. At Green Bay, he started 72 games over seven years and was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2017. Over his 10 year NFL career, Daniels has played in a total of 124 games with 86 starts, collecting 230 tackles, 48 tackles for loss, and 30 sacks. According to Spotrac, Daniels has made $46.1 million in his NFL career.
At Iowa, Daniels was a two-year starter at defensive tackle, finishing with 21 career starts in college. As a senior, he was named second-team All-Big Ten in 2011 after leading the team with nine sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss, and was also voted as a a team captain. His junior year, Daniels finished with 40 tackles, 11 TFL, and four sacks, earning honorable mention All-Big Ten honors, and played in a reserve role his first two years on campus.
Coming out of high school, Daniels was a two-star recruit in the Class of 2007, choosing the Hawkeyes over scholarship offers from Temple and Villanova. Also a standout wrestler at 215 pounds in high school, Daniels played running back and defensive end at Highland Regional, finishing his senior year with 1,029 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns on offense along with 97 tackles and 12 sacks on defense.
Unfortunately, Cincinnati offensive tackle Riley Reiff is on injured reserve and will miss the Super Bowl after undergoing ankle surgery in December. Reiff started 12 games at right tackle for the Bengals this season before the injury after coming over from Minnesota as a free agent last summer. A first round draft pick by the Lions in 2012, Reiff spent five years in Detroit, four years in Minnesota, and one year in Cincinnati so far in his 10 years playing professionally with 139 career starts. According to Spotrac, Reiff has made $69.6 million in his NFL career.
At Iowa, Reiff began his career at defensive end briefly before moving over to offensive line during his redshirt year. He then moved into the starting lineup as a redshirt freshman in 2009 and stayed there for three seasons, finishing his college career with 37 starts. As a junior in 2011, Reiff was named first-team All-Big Ten after earning second-team honors the previous season, and declared for the NFL Draft, leaving college a year early.
Coming out of high school, Reiff was a three-star recruit in the Class of 2008 who initially committed to Iowa before flipping to Nebraska and then back to Iowa again in quite a memorable recruiting battle.
The Super Bowl kicks off at 5:30 PM CT on NBC Sunday.