In a season full of struggles on almost every front, Johnny Newton continues to be as good as advertised.
The junior DL has just been named to the PFF College Midseason All-American Team. Newton leads the country with 24 quarterback pressures as a defensive lineman.
Named a preseason first team All-American, Newton is still right on course to take home that honor after this year’s campaign.
In the 2023 season, Newton leads the Illini defense in sacks, sack yards, quarterback hits and blocked kicks.
The junior is typically projected to get drafted in the mid to late first round of the 2024 NFL Draft. If he keeps up his dominate play, Newton will continue to boost his draft stock.
On top of being named a Midseason All-American, Newton has been named a Lott IMPACT Trophy quarterfinalist.
This award is given to the defensive player who portrays the greatest IMPACT: Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community, and Tenacity, in all of college football. The trophy not only celebrates the player’s athletic abilities, but their personal character as well.
Newton will look to join the likes of college football legends such as J.J. Watt, Luke Kuechly and Aidan Hutchinson as winners of this prestigious award.
At the halfway point of the season, Newton has been the clear MVP, and leader of this team. Even with this year’s regression as a squad, he hasn’t wavered at all in his dominance on the line.
If the Illini want to finish strong this season, the rest of the guys need to take a page out of the Johnny Newton handbook and absorb his mentality in these last six games.