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Illinois’ Newton named Outland Trophy semifinalist

The award is for the nation’s best interior defensive lineman.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 05 Michigan State at Illinois Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It’s just that kind of season for Johnny Newton.

Illinois’ star defensive tackle was named Wednesday a semifinalist for the Outland Trophy, which is awarded to college football’s best interior lineman.

Newton is the second Illini ever to be named a semifinalist for the honor. He’s the first since Moe Gardner in 1989.

Seven players are up for the award:

  • OL Cooper Beebe, Kansas State
  • DT Jer’Zahn Newton, Illinois
  • DT T’Vondre Sweat, Texas
  • OT Joe Alt, Notre Dame
  • G Zak Zinter, Michigan
  • C Jackson Powers-Johnson, Oregon
  • G Taliese Fuaga, Oregon State

This season Newton has 42 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, and 5.5 sacks. He also blocked three kicks and leads the country in QB pressures (39).