CEDAR FALLS – Northern Iowa defensive tackle Jared Brinkman has been named the 2021 Missouri Valley Conference defensive player of the year announced the league Thursday.
The defensive tackle from Iowa City led the MVFC with nine tackles for loss while also tallying three quarterback hurries and forcing two fumbles. He had 4.5 TFLs and a sack against Missouri State.
There is a lot of things Northern Iowa football coach Mark Farley is proud about following the Panthers completion of the 2021 spring season.
Eight other UNI players were honored with all-league recognition.
Brinkman, linebacker Spencer Cuvelier and sophomore kicker Matthew Cook were named to the first team. Defensive end Brawntae Wells and cornerback Austin Evans were second team picks.
Cornerback Omar Brown, receiver Quan Hampton and offensive tackle Trevor Penning earned honorable mention honors.
Brinkman is the 10th Panther to win Defensive Player of the Year honors and it is the 13th time since 1985 that a UNI defender has won the award. The last Panther to win it was Karter Schult in 2016.
UNI had just three regular-rotation defensive linemen available Saturday against North Dakota State.
The Buck Buchanan award finalist (An award given to the top defensive player in the FCS), Brinkman finished with 38 tackles.
Cuvelier led the MVFC with 10.1 tackles per game and was second in the league in total tackles with 71. Cook led the MVFC with 15 made field goals. Evans tied for the team lead with five pass breakups, while Wells was second in the MVFC with 4.5 sacks despite playing in only six games.
South Dakota State freshman Mark Gronowski was named Newcomer, Offensive and Freshman of the Year, while Missouri State’s Bobby Petrino was named Coach of the Year.
The all-newcomer team will be released Friday.