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Illinois’ Johnny Newton named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year

A huge honor for No. 4.


Johnny Newton has a very bright future ahead of him.

On Tuesday, Illinois’ superstar defensive tackle was named the Big Ten’s Defensive Player of the Year. Newton is the first Illinis since Dana Howard in 1994 to earn that honor.

Newton led Power Five DTs in QB pressures this season, and had 7.5 sacks, the most by any DT in the conference. He added a single-season program record four blocked kicks.

But Newton was not named a finalist for the Outland Trophy, awarded to the best offensive or defensive interior lineman. Newton’s reaction on X:

Newton announced plans last week to forgo his remaining eligibility and enter the 2024 NFL Draft, where he is expected to be a first-round pick.

Other Illini making All-Big Ten teams:

  • Keith Randolph (All-Big Ten Third Team - Media)
  • Xavier Scott (All-Big Ten Honorable Mention)
  • Dylan Rosiek (All-Big Ten Honorable Mention)
  • Seth Coleman (All-Big Ten Honorable Mention)
  • Caleb Griffin (All-Big Ten Honorable Mention)
  • Hugh Robertson (All-Big Ten Honorable Mention)
  • Isaiah Williams (All-Big Ten Honorable Mention)