WCIA — Johnny Newton is one of five national finalists for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, an annual award presented to the best defensive player in college football. The Illinois defensive tackle is the only lineman on the list, in the midst of an outstanding season. Newton was also named an Outland Trophy semifinalist on Wednesday, one of seven players from across the country still in the running for the prestigious honor that recognizes college football’s best interior lineman.

Newton has 42 total tackles, 6.5 TFLs, 5.5 sacks, and three blocked kicks. He is the national leader in QB pressures among interior defenders with 39, according to PFF, 16 more pressures than any other Big Ten interior defender. Newton leads all Power-5 defensive tackles in snaps played with 611 (61.1 per game). Newton has played 58 more snaps than any other Power-5 interior defensive lineman and 94 more than any Big Ten defensive tackle.

2023 Bronko Nagurski Finalists
Jer’Zahn Newton, Illinois, DT
Cooper DeJean, Iowa, CB
Malaki Starks, Georgia, S
Xavier Watts, Notre Dame, S
Payton Wilson, NC State, LB

2023 Outland Trophy Semifinalists
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