Nov. 28, 2012
Editor's Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa's Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- It isn't that Micah Hyde lacks confidence, but after four years playing football in the Big Ten Conference, he knows how to evaluate talent.
Hyde, a University of Iowa cornerback, received the Tatum-Woodson Defensive Back of the Year award Monday, an honor that caught him by surprise.
"When I heard the news the first time, it was a shock," Hyde said. "There are really good defensive backs in this conference; for my name to be at the top is a great honor. I want to say thank you to my coaches and my teammates for making me work hard, and I wouldn't be here without them."
Hyde was a first-team All-Big Ten selection by both the coaches and media. The group of first-teamers in the defensive backfield also included Johnny Adams and Darqueze Dennard of Michigan State, Bradley Roby and Travis Howard of Ohio State, and Daimion Stafford of Nebraska.
There were several opponents that made an impact on Hyde.
"The Michigan defensive backs, playing the Nebraska guys last week; I think they did a good job," Hyde said. "They play a lot of cover 1, so I think they handled our offense pretty well. Through playing the games and seeing the other defensive backs, I had a lot of respect for them."
"When I heard the news the first time, it was a shock. There are really good defensive backs in this conference; for my name to be at the top is a great honor. I want to say thank you to my coaches and my teammates for making me work hard, and I wouldn't be here without them."
Hyde completed the season with 78 tackles, including 44 solo stops. He led the team with 14 pass breakups, forced two fumbles, and had one interception. He recovered three fumbles, one of which he returned for a touchdown against Purdue.
Hyde (6-foot-1, 190 pounds) is a native of Fostoria, Ohio. He started all 38 games over his final three seasons and played in all 51 games throughout his career. He recorded 240 career tackles to tie for 34th on Iowa's career tackle list. He is tied for 18th in career interceptions (8-142 yards) and had four forced and three recovered fumbles in his career. He had interception returns of 72 and 66 yards for touchdowns as a sophomore -- the 10th and 12th-longest returns in school history. Hyde averaged 7.5 yards on 27 punt returns the last two seasons. He earned second-team All-Big Ten honors in 2011, and was honorable mention in 2010.
"Micah has done a tremendous job for our team both on and off the field the past four years," said UI head coach Kirk Ferentz. "Not only has Micah been a great starter at cornerback for us the last three years, he has also been a valuable contributor on special teams as a gunner and punt returner. Micah has sparked our team with many big plays, maybe none bigger than his interception and touchdown return versus Missouri in the 2010 Insight Bowl. He has been a strong and positive team leader for some time."
During his time at the UI, Hyde played with, and learned from, four defensive backs who were drafted into the NFL: Amari Spievey, Tyler Sash, Shaun Prater, and Jordan Bernstine. Hyde will have an opportunity to play professionally, but in the short term he is focusing on final exams and graduating in May with a degree in recreation and sports business.
"The whole next-level thing was not big in my mind. It will play out how it is supposed to," Hyde said. "With exams coming up and graduation, those are the No. 1 things on my mind right now. The NFL will play out. I'll be training and doing school work until May."
As good as the Big Ten defensive backs were in 2012, they had nothing on the ability of the wide receivers in the league. Hyde drew assignments against the likes of All-Big Ten performers Allen Robinson of Penn State, Kenny Bell of Nebraska, and Cody Latimer of Indiana. In Hyde's opinion, the pair of Roy Roundtree and Jeremy Gallon of Michigan was also among the best he faced.
What prepared Hyde most for Saturday was what he confronted Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at Hawkeye practices.
"I have to commend our receivers -- Keenan Davis and Kevonte (Martin-Manley) and our tight ends that we play against every day helping us prepare for these other teams," Hyde said. "It's a good conference with a lot of playmakers."
As for an individual highlight of the 2012 season for Hyde, you have to look beyond a single play or plays. What sticks out to him is the combined defensive effort during a 19-16 double-overtime win at Michigan State on Oct. 13. Hyde made seven tackles with a pass breakup that day, and Iowa limited the Spartans to 12-of-31 passing for 179 yards...and an interception to seal the victory.
"The game in general we played well was at Michigan State," Hyde said. "As a secondary we played well, and we were dealing with adversity. That game was the highlight of our season."