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Illinois Football: Jer’Zhan Newton Earns Several Postseason Awards



Jer'Zhan Newton
Sep 17, 2021; Champaign, Illinois, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini defensive lineman Jer'Zhan Newton (94) sacks Maryland Terrapins quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa (3) in the first half at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Jer’Zhan Newton earned several postseason awards this year.

Illinois football did not have the season they thought in 2023. However, star defensive lineman Jer’Zhan “Johnny” Newton stood out for the Illini. Newton finished fourth on the team in total tackles (52), second in tackles for loss (8.5), and led the Illini in sacks (7.5). Newton was consistently disruptive against the run and the pass.

Now that his playing days are over, Newton looks to the greener pastures of the NFL, where he’s projected to be a top-50 pick. Newton looks to pick up some hard-earned hardware before the postseason bowl tour, training, and the NFL Combines.

Newton was the best defensive lineman in the Big Ten not named Chop Robinson. As a result, he earned All-Big Ten honors. The Big Ten named him Defensive Lineman of the Year for the second consecutive season:

The Big Ten also named Newton the Nagurski-Woodson Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. Newton was not the only Illini player to garner Big Ten Awards. Isaiah Williams earned All-Big Ten honors after leading the conference in receptions.

National Awards

Newton finished third in the Nagurski Award voting. The Associated Press named him a First-Team All-American. Newton was one of the best defensive players in college football this past season and deserves all the awards he has received. Newton has etched his name among the Illinois football greats like Kevin Hardy, Simeon Rice, and Eugene Wilson, among the greatest defenders to wear the Orange and Blue.

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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.