Bleacher Report\'s 2017 College Football All America Team

Joshua JacksonJoshua JacksonCharlie Neibergall/Associated Press

2017 Stats: 47 tackles, 18 passes broken up, seven interceptions (two TD), one fumble forced, one blocked FG

With Desmond King blocking his path to playing time, Josh Jackson didn't see much of the field in his first two seasons with the Hawkeyes. Between his freshman and sophomore years, he had 18 total tackles, six passes defended and no interceptions.

Compare that to this year's numbers and you're looking at the breakout star of the 2017 college football season.

Those full-year numbers are nice and all, but what made Jackson a unanimous first-team All-American was his two-game stretch against what ended up being the No. 5 and No. 6 teams in the final CFP rankings: Ohio State and Wisconsin.

Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett entered the afternoon against Iowa with just one interception in his first eight games. As you might recall, after his sterling performance against Penn State in the previous week, Barrett was gaining serious steam as a front-runner for the Heisman. That went up in smoke when Jackson picked off Barrett not once, not twice, but three times in Iowa's 55-24 rout of the Buckeyes.

Seven days later, this star defensive back was Iowa's only source of "offense" against Wisconsin. On the fourth play of the game, Jackson returned an interception 43 yards for a touchdown. Early in the third quarter, he did it again, this time from 52 yards out. The Hawkeyes had 66 yards of total offense in the game, and their only points came on those interceptions. But because of Jackson, it was a relatively interesting game deep into the third quarter.

Factor in his one interception in Week 1 and his other in Week 3 and Jackson finished in a tie for the national lead in interceptions with seven. And combining his interceptions and passes broken up, Jackson finished five passes defended ahead of any other player. In fact, the only other player in the past decade to reach 25 in that category was Houston's William Jackson III in 2015, which made him a first-round draft pick that spring.

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