After a very successful year at Illinois, Tommy DeVito is now a Giant.
Once he was denied the waiver to play at Illinois for one more year, DeVito declared for the NFL Draft. Despite going undrafted, the New Jersey native was signed by the Giants on Saturday afternoon.
Former Illinois QB Tommy DeVito is signing with the #Giants on a deal that includes a $10,000 signing bonus and $10,000 base salary guarantee.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) April 30, 2023
After three years at Syracuse, DeVito transferred to Illinois and led its run-heavy offense to the program’s first winning record and Top-25 ranking since 2011. Although most of the spotlight was on the nation’s leading rusher Chase Brown and best scoring defense, DeVito had the best season of his college career.
The Giants will be getting a key attribute from the Illini signal caller that every professional quarterback needs: consistent efficiency. In 2022, he was one of the most efficient QBs in the country, ranking fourth in completion percentage (69.6%).
The run-heavy scheme prevented him from consistently racking up big numbers, but DeVito still threw for 2,650 yards, 15 touchdowns and four interceptions on the season. He also added six rushing touchdowns, three of which came at Wisconsin.
His biggest highlight of the season included 332 passing yards and 3 TDs in only three quarters against Chattanooga, with his most efficient performance coming at Nebraska, where he completed 20-of-22 passes for 179 yards and 2 TDs. These types of numbers with efficiency hadn’t been seen from an Illinois QB for quite some time.
The last time Illinois had a QB pass for 300+ yards: Brandon Peters 2019 @ Michigan State— Mihir Chavan (@MihirChavan_) September 23, 2022
The last time Illinois had a QB throw for 300+ yards and complete 74.2+% of his passes: Nathan Scheelhaase 2013 vs. Wisconsin
It’s been a while since #Illinois had a competent QB.
Another one of DeVito’s biggest strengths is avoiding mistakes. His four interceptions were sixth lowest among QBs in the nation (min. 200 passing att.), while he also ranked top 10 in interception percentage (1.1% of throws were interceptions).
Despite avoiding the mistakes, DeVito’s passing attack in OC Barry Lunney Jr.’s system didn’t utilize the deep ball much. He often had eyes for the first-down chains, which — combined with Brown’s high usage on the ground — led to long, methodical drives into the red zone.
Because of this play style, DeVito’s explosive capabilities weren’t tested much at Illinois. His 10.31 passing yards per completion last season ranked 100th in the nation.
However, the year at Illinois adds to his experience in a big-play Syracuse offense for three years, which gives him extensive knowledge of two very different offensive systems.
His mentality is also worth noting. While college athletes opting out of bowl games has become normalcy, DeVito had other ideas before the Illini’s bowl game in January.
#illini QB Tommy DeVito said he never considered not playing in the ReliaQuest Bowl.— Jeremy Werner (@JWerner247) December 28, 2022
“To me, there was no question. I was 100% playing. Unless the whole entire offensive line opted out, that may have been the only time where I’d be like, ‘Coach B, what are we doing?’”
DeVito is one of the older players entering the draft at 24 years old, and with the age comes experience. The Giants will have an athlete who possesses knowledge of different offensive systems, an ability to be explosive and efficient, and the passion and leadership needed to command a team at the professional level.