WCIA — Devon Witherspoon is the Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year. The Illinois cornerback is the first Illini positional player (non-special teams) to win a conference individual award since 2007.
For the first time since 1994, the Illini landed three players on the All-Big Ten first team defense. Kevin Hardy, Simeon Rice and Dana Howard were the last to do it 28 years ago, now Witherspoon joins defensive tackle Johnny Newton as first team selections by both the coaches and media. Sydney Brown is a first team selection by the coaches, second team by media.
Fellow defensive back Quan Martin was tabbed a second team selection, with defensive tackle Keith Randolph Jr. landing on the third team. Ten Illini in all are listed as All-Big Ten, with linebackers Isaac Darkangelo and Tarique Barnes, outside linebacker Seth Coleman, defensive back Kendall Smith and outside linebacker Gabe Jacas receiving honorable mention recognition. On special teams, kicker Caleb Griffin, a Danville native, is also honorable mention.