Iowa’s Morris earns first-team academic honor

IOWA CITY – As good as Iowa linebacker James Morris is on the football field, the Hawkeye senior may be better in the classroom.

Morris was named to the Capital One Academic All-America first team Thursday, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).

The Solon native carries a 3.84 grade point average and is majoring in political science.

This acdemic honor comes after Morris was named to the academic all-district team in 2012. He also was an academic all-Big Ten selection in 2011 and 2012 and is up for consideration this season.

Mike Klinkenborg and Anton Narinsky were the most recent Hawkeyes to earn first-team academic All-American honors. Morris is the 11th Iowa football player to land on the squad.

Morris has been starting at linebacker for Iowa since his freshman season and has 392 career tackles. He is second on the team with 99 this season but leads the Hawkeyes in tackles for loss with 15 1/2, sacks with six and interceptions with four.

In addition to the All-American honor Thursday, Morris also is one of 16 players from all divisions to be named a National Scholar-Athlete by the National Football Foundation, earning an $18,000 post-graduate scholarship. He also is one of four finalists for the Lott IMPACT Trophy and one of 12 finalists for the Wuerffel Trophy.

Morris helped Iowa turn around its program this season.

The Hawkeyes went 4-8 last year but will return to a bowl game after finishing 8-4 this fall.

The Hawkeyes will learn of their bowl destination Sunday.