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Illinois Football: Former Illini standout is named to the Pro Bowl



Illinois Football: Defensive Back U?
Apr 27, 2023; Kansas City, MO, USA; Illinois cornerback Devon Witherspoon walks the NFL Draft Red Carpet before the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft at Union Station. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Devon Witherspoon was selected to the 2024 Pro Bowl.

NFL scouts loved Illinois football defensive backs in the draft last year. Three went in the first 100 picks of the draft. The highest of those picks, Devon Witherspoon, earned a spot in the 2024 Pro Bowl. Witherspoon has established himself as one of the best young defensive players in the NFL. He leads all NFL rookies in passes defended with 16. Witherspoon is fifth among rookies in tackles (68) and 11th in sacks (3).

Witherspoon joins Lions tight end Sam LaPorta and LA Rams wide receiver Puka Nakua as the lone rookies named to the Pro Bowl.

He joins Illinois football legends Dick Butkus and J.C. Caroline, named to the Pro Bowl as rookies. Few Illinois players earned Pro Bowl nods in recent years. Witherspoon and Jets cornerback Justin Hardee are the only two Illinois pro bowlers in the last seven years. The previous three Illini players to earn Pro Bowl bids were defensive backs. Witherspoon, Hardee, and Vontae Davis earned Pro Bowl nods as defensive backs.

Witherspoon was a consensus All-American, Thorpe Award finalist, and Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year in 2022. The Seattle Seahawks drafted him with the fifth overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Underrecruited out of Pine Forest High School in Florida, Witherspoon received zero Power Five offers, except from Lovie Smith and Illinois.

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Armchair Illini is a comprehensive site dedicated to covering University of Illinois Athletics owned and operated by Alex Kyi. Dante Pryor has been writing about College Football for years on Saturday Blitz and is now the Lead Football Author for Armchair Illini.