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Kerby Joseph declares for 2022 NFL Draft

The Florida product was PFF’s highest graded defensive back in the country.

Brad Repplinger

Another Illini has entered their name into the 2022 NFL Draft.

On Sunday evening, All-Big Ten defensive back Kerby Joseph announced his intentions to go pro.

Joseph had a historically good year, becoming the first Illini DB since Vontae Davis in 2008 to be named to All-Big Ten First Team.

He had a monster senior year, being the top-graded defensive back in the nation, per Pro Football Focus. He also tied for first in the country with five interceptions.

But Joseph isn’t just a defensive back — he’s a safety. And that’s what makes his accomplishment even more historic, as no Illini safety had earned first-team honors since Mike Gow in 1973! Nearly 50 years ago!

In the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, Joseph only had 19 tackles. He only had 26 tackles through his first two seasons (2018-19), but this year finished with 57 alone (including 41 solo tackles).

Several other Illini have already also declared for the Draft, including Khalan Tolson and Daniel Barker.