Meet the former Hawkeyes playing for the Falcons today

From black and gold to Super Bowl contenders

Over the years, many Iowa players have highlighted Super Bowl appearances, and this year is no different. Two former Hawkeyes will be playing for the Falcons tonight, so if you have no preference on today’s championship game, you may want to consider Atlanta…

Jonathan Babineaux

Babineaux may have a tough name to say, but he’s a sheer athlete. He’s 6’2″, 300 pounds, and could probably hold down the entire defensive line by himself. From the very start of his career at Lincoln High School in Port Arthur, Texas, Jonathan was highly recruited by Iowa.

In his collegiate career, he finished with 131 tackles, 39 of which were tackles for loss. He tallied 19 sacks, five forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries, and even intercepted a pass… as a lineman. He led Iowa’s defense in 2005’s Capitol One Bowl, a game forever remembered in Iowa history as “The Catch.”

He was drafted by the Falcons later in 2005 and has stayed with the team for 12 years. In 2014, he signed a three-year nine million dollar contract extension. He will be looking to potentially end his career this year with a Super Bowl ring on his finger.

Adrian Clayborn

Adrian Clayborn started his career off in a huge way by winning the 2005 Missouri Player of the Year after his fourth straight year playing varsity football at Webster Groves High School. His decision to come to Iowa was huge for the Hawkeyes, who have had a history of amazing defensive lineman (i.e. Jonathan Babineaux circa 2005).

Clayborn took a redshirt year his freshman year, but eventually secured a starting spot in 2008 at Iowa. He is best remembered for his blocked punt return for a touchdown in 2009 against Penn State. He went on to lead the Hawks to an Orange Bowl victory later that year, and will go down as one of the best ever to put on the black and gold.

He was drafted 20th overall by the Buccaneers in 2010, but wound up signing with the Falcons in 2015.

Adrian won’t be playing today due to injury, but has helped Atlanta keep one of the best defensive lines in the league all year long. Much like Babineaux, Clayborn is in his final contract year with Atlanta, and may look to end his career this weekend after the Super Bowl.

Regardless of who wins this afternoon, it will certainly be exciting to see a few Hawkeyes suiting up in the biggest game of the year. If you don’t already have a team affiliation, give a special shout out to Jonathan and Adrian by cheering on the Falcons as they take on the best offense the NFL has to offer.

University of Iowa Adrian Clayborn Atlanta Falcons football Hawkeye football Jonathan Babineaux Super Bowl LI University of Iowa