CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Two Illinois football players were named on the Football Writers Association of America All-America team. Illini defensive back Devon Witherspoon was named on first team and running Back Chase Brown was named on second team.

Witherspoon has been named the Big Ten’s Tatum-Woodson Defensive Back of the Year, one of three finalists for the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award, and All-Big Ten first team, solidifying himself as one of the top cornerbacks in the nation and one of the best in Illinois history. He leads in the nation in reception percentage against (33.8) and forced incompletions (16), according to PFF. Witherspoon is sixth in the nation in passes defended (17) and allowed fewer than 35 receiving yards in 11 of 12 games this season. 

The nation’s second-leading rusher with 1,643 yards, Brown led the Power-5 in rushing from start to finish during the 2022 regular season. A Doak Walker Award finalist, Brown finished the regular season third in the nation in all-purpose yards (1,883), second in the nation in rushes of 10+ yards (48), and tied for the national lead in 100-yard games (10). 

Brown rushed for at least 98 yards in 11 of Illinois’ 12 games and has scored 13 total touchdowns (10 rushing, three receiving). He did his best work against some of the nation’s best rushing defenses, rushing for more yards than any other opponent against Michigan’s No. 3-ranked rush defense (140 yards), Wisconsin’s No. 12-ranked rush defense (129 yards), and Minnesota’s No. 15-ranked rush defense (180 yards).