CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — No surprise, Chase Brown is the Illinois Football Most Valuable Player and Devon Witherspoon is the team’s Most Valuable Defensive Player. The awards were handed out Saturday night at the iHotel during the team’s annual banquet. Brown is coming off a historic season leading the Illini offense as the nation’s second leading rusher and a Doak Walker Award finalist. Witherspoon was a Jim Thorpe Award finalist and the Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year.

“Banquets are kind of like those senior games, it’s the first of last for a lot of our guys but also what I like about the end of this year going to a bowl game it’s kind of a catapult into 2023,” Illinois head coach Bret Bielema said. “I see a lot of families here, I didn’t really know how many people were going to be here going away from the traditional banquet sitting through a three hours of a sit down meal.”

The Illini had a social hour before the hour-long program. Earlier in the day, the team practiced for the third time leading up to the ReliaQuest Bowl on Jan. 2.