ISU linebacker Jeremiah George named All-Big 12, eyes Pro Day


Senior linebacker Jeremiah George celebrates as steam emanates from his body after defeating the Kansas Jayhawks 34-0 at Jack Trice Stadium on Nov. 23. The temperature during the game dipped as low as 3 F.

Dean Berhow-Goll

He didn’t think it would happen in a million years.

Today, the Associated Press announced Iowa State’s starting middle linebacker and defensive captain Jeremiah George as a First Team All-Big 12 linebacker.

“To be completely honest with you: No, never in a million years,” George said. “But after being ranked preseason Big 12 All-Third team, I was like, you know what, I can do better than third team, so I made it one of my goals to be a First Team All-Big 12 linebacker, and I’m happy that dream came true.”

George finished the season as the Big 12’s top tackler with 11.1 tackles per game, which ranked fourth in the country with 133 total tackles. He also finished tied for fourth in the Big 12 with three forced fumbles and No. 5 in tackles for loss.

Even though George gets to put a check mark next to a big one, he isn’t done with his goals at Iowa State just yet.

George hopes to add 10 pounds in the offseason and be able to put up at least 25 reps while still being able to run in the 4.5 to 4.6 range in the 40-yard dash at Iowa State’s Pro Day in March.

Iowa State has been used to watching linebackers excel in its scheme with last year’s duo A.J. Klein and Jake Knott, and even Jesse Smith in 2009.

Klein and Knott, both much bigger than the 5-foot-11-inch, 225-pound George, were invited to the NFL Combine in February last spring with Klein a full participant and Knott limited due to his shoulder injury he still was recovering from.

Although George followed in their footsteps, it is still hard to compare the trio most saw line up on last year’s defense. But George said all three have faced and overcome adversity in their time.

With Knott, it was the fact that he could stay healthy and coming back from a season-ending shoulder injury in time to perform at his team’s Pro Day. For Klein it was to prove he wasn’t just a bigger linebacker who played well in a scheme. Now, the pair are contributing on NFL rosters with Knott as a special teamer for the Philadelphia Eagles and Klein a rotation linebacker for a stout Carolina Panthers defense.

Now, it is George’s turn with his lack of prototypical size for an NFL-caliber linebacker, with the average height of linebacker NFL Combine participants at 6 feet, 2 inches and 230 pounds.

“I always tell people this, we all have come from a little bit of adversity and want to prove things to ourselves then we want to prove them to other people,” George said. “I think, for myself, it’ll be my size because everybody looks at me, I’m 5-foot-11, 225 pounds, and that’s not what you’re going to get with me: You’re going to get a guy who’s a little bit undersized but tries to utilize his speed well and tries to improve off that.”

So what does an AP First Team All-Big 12 award do for a linebacker that didn’t expect anything like it in a million years? It has his eyes focused on what needs to be done for a potential future at the next level.

“I think it adds a little more fuel to the fire,” George said. “It pushes me to want to do more, to achieve that it’s like a stepping stone for my next goal, which is to have a great Pro Day.”