Phil Parker is the 247Sports Defensive Coordinator of the Year.

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Iowa Hawkeyes Coaching Staff 2023 | College Football Network

All Phil Parker does is develop top-tier defenses at Iowa, and in 2023 he may have coached his best yet. The Hawkeyes’ top-five defense was the program’s best since 2008. And it bucked win-total analytics, pulling along one of the nation’s worst offenses to transform Iowa into a 10-win team despite ranking 130th nationally in scoring. For his efforts, the longtime Hawkeyes assistant coach is 247Sports’ Defensive Coordinator of the Year.

Iowa’s defense allowed only 15 touchdowns in 13 games while holding opponents to 13.2 points per game (No. 4 nationally). Despite the Hawkeyes’ offense struggling to score points and stay on the field, Parker’s defense allowed only 18 plays of 20-plus yards on 896 snaps, the best mark in the country. Parker, in his 25th season overall at Iowa, won the Broyles Award as the nation’s top assistant coach Tuesday.

“This is one of the greatest years we’ve had, of all the different challenges you have,” Parker said at the Broyles Award ceremony. “Losing players, struggling a little bit on offense — but just the way everybody stayed together as a team and didn’t divide, which a lot of times outside the building that’s what happens when things aren’t going well. I really appreciate the way they went about their business.”

Iowa replaced seven defensive starters, including All-American linebacker Jack Campbell, but didn’t miss a beat and actually improved statistically while remaining in the top five nationally in several major categories. Cornerback Cooper DeJean developed into one of the nation’s best players and is a finalist for both the Nagurski Award and Thorpe Award.

Parker, 60, is arguably the best year-to-year coordinator in the profession. He has coordinated the Hawkeyes’ defense the past 12 seasons, leading them to top-20 scoring defenses in 10 years. Five times, Iowa finished in the top 10 — including four of the past five seasons.

The Hawkeyes also allowed one touchdown or less in 10 games for a sixth-straight season. Iowa has allowed 400 yards or fewer in 27 straight games dating back to 2021, the longest streak in the country. The Hawkeyes rank fifth in pass efficiency defense (100.5), 12th in red zone defense (75%), 13th in rushing defense (102.5), 16th in first downs defense (205) and 19th in third-down conversion defense (31.6%).

247Sports Defensive Coordinator of the Year

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