It goes without saying that anytime a player leaves a program with hopes of making a career in the NFL, they are an important factor in their teams’ success.
However, Kaevon Merriweather’s impact on the Iowa Hawkeyes went far beyond his performance on the field.
After an impressive showing at the 2023 NFL Draft Combine, Merriweather has opened the eyes of a number of teams leading up to the NFL Draft.
Who is Kaevon Merriweather?
A native of Belleville, Michigan, Kaevon Merriweather was more of a basketball player in his first two years of high school. He flew under the radar in his final two years of high school before he was offered a scholarship to play at the University of Iowa during the late signing period.
In his first season as a Hawkeye in 2018, Merriweather appeared in nine games without a start. During his freshman season, Kaevon Merriweather recorded one solo tackle across his nine game appearances.
Merriweather would redshirt in 2019 after seeing action in only two games, missing much of the season due to injury. In his two games of action, Merriweather would start against Miami, recording five tackles, two of which were solo tackles.
Blessed to receive an offer and be committed to the University of Iowa🐤 pic.twitter.com/kcyoLSP50F
— Kaevon Merriweather (@Kaevon02) February 3, 2018
In 2020 he would truly emerge as a talent for the Hawkeyes, playing in all eight of Iowa’s games, starting five of them. Throughout the 2020 season, Kaevon Merriweather would record 23 tackles, 13 solo tackles, and a pass breakup.
Taking his success from 2020 into 2021, Merriweather was named to Wuerffel Trophy Preseason Watch List, which is an award given annually to the college football player “who best combines exemplary community service with athletic and academic achievement.” In 2021, Kaevon Merriweather appeared in 14 games, starting seven.
He recorded 29 solo tackles, defended five passes, and had an interception. He would receive a defensive Coaches Appreciation Award. However, Kaevon Merriweather would be the only member of Iowa’s secondary that did not receive an accolade from the Big Ten Conference, which is something that fueled him going into 2022.
Moving onto 2022, Merriweather’s fifth and final season as a Hawkeye, it is safe to say that he put an exclamation point at the end of a very successful college career. Kaevon Merriweather served as a permanent defensive captain in 2022.
He started all 12 of the Hawkeyes’ games, recording 34 solo tackles, two tackles for loss, one forced fumble, six passes defended, and three interceptions.
Not only would he be named first-team All-Big Ten by Phil Steele, but he would also be named a first-team All-American by Pro Football Focus. No doubt one of the best Iowa Hawkeyes players of 2022.
Only Safety with 85+ grades in man AND zone coverage last season:
🟡 Kaevon Merriweather pic.twitter.com/6fdTSNve2h
— PFF College (@PFF_College) March 18, 2023
Awards and Accolades
He would earn a Big Ten Sportsmanship award and would be one of 20 semi finalists for the Jason Whitten Collegiate Man of the Year Award, which seeks to recognize the FBS player who “best demonstrates an outstanding record of leadership by exhibiting exceptional courage, integrity, and sportsmanship.”
During his time as an Iowa Hawkeye, Kaevon Merriweather appeared in 45 games, with 25 starts, and 118 tackles. He was recognized by Iowa media with the Duke Slater Golden Gavel Award, presented to the Iowa football player who not only is most cooperative with local media, but exhibits themselves with professional integrity in all interactions.
Merriweather was one of 12 seniors named to 2022 Player Council, one of 10 juniors named to 2021 Player Council, and one of 12 true freshmen to see action in 2018.
After being a vocal leader on his high school team, in Belleville, Michigan, Kaevon Merriweather came to Iowa much like the vast majority of freshmen do, quietly, learning from the older players, rather than being outspoken themselves.
Younger players have to earn the right to have their voices heard and appreciated by the team. Prior to his junior year Merriweather became that outspoken leader again, like he was in high school. Much like he had done as an underclassman, the younger players began asking him questions, trying to learn from his experiences.
Merriweather learned that he had a voice and began to use it. He really emerged as a leader both on and off the field before the 2020 season. Kaevon Merriweather began to motivate his team and push for social justice not only within the University, but the community as well.
From boys 2 men…..a lot has transitioned ovr these 5 years, but 1 thing remains the same, the brotherhood! #Doughboyz
— LaTanya Dionne (@RNElectrician) March 3, 2023
Leading By Example
Kaevon Merriweather was so much more than just a successful football player for the Iowa Hawkeyes. In his five years with the team, he blossomed from a quiet freshman into an outspoken leader within both the team and community.
Merriweather used his voice and experiences to motivate and better his teammates, becoming the face of one of the best defenses in the country.
Kaevon Merriweather had lasting impacts on his teammates both on and off the field and will be a major piece to fill in order for the Iowa Hawkeyes defense.
If they want to remain the powerhouse that it has been, as the team works from the spring football season into the 2023-2024 season, they will need to find a proper replacement.
"As soon as you come out all you hear is the crowd and you just see 70,000 screaming fans."@HawkeyeFootball's Kaevon Merriweather talks about his development at Iowa and what the community of Hawkeye Football means to him ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/uzJ9J0SySY
— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) October 1, 2022
Credits on Featured Image: Iowa defensive back Kaevon Merriweather runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Friday, March 3, 2023. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings/Digital License)