Devon Witherspoon
CB · Illinois

Physical Attributes:

Proj Rd: 1
Height: 5114
Weight: 181
Forty: 4.42
Arm: 31 1/4
Hand: 8 7/8
Wingspan: 73 5/8


Summary: As a no-star recruit, Witherspoon became the first true freshman to start a game for Illinois in 2019. Oozes an athleticism and aggressiveness honed by competing at a high level in basketball and track as well as football. Plays bigger than his size and is unafraid to support on runs. He prefers man coverage, where his nasty attitude serves him well. Has as lined up inside and outside.

FRANKLY: Spoon is ready and eager to mix it up with the best, but he needs to reel in some of his aggressiveness or he will draw penalty flags. Looks like an immediate starter in the pass-happy NFL, so if you need a corner don’t let this one get away.  




2019: (13/3)       33       0.0      0.0         0      2       0

2020: (7/7)         33       1.0      0.0          1       2       2

2021: (10/10)     52       8.0      1.0         0       9      0

2022: (12/12)     41       2.5      0.0         0      17     3

Total: (42/32)    159     11.5    1.0         1       30     5


HISTORY — From College Profile


  • One of three finalists for the Thorpe Award
  • First Thorpe Award finalist in Illinois history
  • One of 20 semifinalists for the Bednarik Award
  • Consensus All-American, the 21st in Illinois history
  • First ever defensive back to be named a Consensus All-American in Illinois history
  • Big Ten's Tatum-Woodson Defensive Back of the Year
  • Walter Camp All-American first team
  • AFCA All-American first team
  • FWAA All-American first team
  • AP All-American first team
  • Phil Steele All-American first team
  • CBS All-American first team
  • PFF All-American first team
  • USA Today All-American second team
  • Senior Bowl All-American
  • All-Big Ten first team (coaches and media)
  • No. 26 player in the nation in 2022 according to PFF's College 101
  • Senior Bowl invite
  • Illinois’ Dick Butkus Defensive MVP
  • Started all 12 regular season games at cornerback
  • Sat out the ReliaQuest Bowl to prepare for the NFL Draft
  • 40 tackles, 2.5 TFLs, three interceptions, and 14 pass breakups on the season
  • Did not allow a touchdown all season
  • No. 1 coverage grade in the nation (92.5), according to PFF
  • No. 2 graded cornerback in the nation and No. 1 in Power-5 (92.0), according to PFF
  • No. 2 NFL passer rating against in the nation and No. 1 in Power-5 (25.0), according to PFF
  • No. 6 graded defender in the nation and No. 2 in Power-5 (92.5), according to PFF
  • Second in the nation in forced incompletions (18) and fourth in the nation in forced incompletion percentage (28.6), according to PFF
  • Third-lowest reception percentage in the nation (34.9), according to PFF
  • Allowed only 16 receptions on 54 targets as the primary defender on the season, according to ESPN
  • Allowed just 3.3 yards against per attempt, according to ESPN
  • Eighth in the nation and second in the Big Ten in passes defended (17)
  • Eighth in the Big Ten in interceptions (3)
  • Allowed fewer than 35 receiving yards in 11 of 12 games this season while matching up with opponent's No. 1 receivers
  • Played the second-most man coverage snaps in the nation (560), according to PFF
  • First career two-interception game at Northwestern 11/26/22
  • Senior Bowl Defensive Player of the Week following seven tackles, three pass breakups and only 11 passing yards against on 11 targets against Virginia 9/10/22


  • All-Big Ten honorable mention (media)
  • Played and started 10 games
  • 52 tackles, 8.0 TFLs, 1.0 sack, and nine pass breakups on the season
  • Led Illinois with nine pass breakups
  • Tied for second on the team with 8.0 TFLs
  • Fourth on the team with 42 solo tackles
  • Sixth on the team with 52 tackles
  • Ninth in the Big Ten in pass breakups (9) and fourth in the Big Ten West
  • Tied for fifth among Big Ten cornerbacks in defensive stops in 2021, according to PFF (19)
  • Six tackles, 2.0 TFLs, 1.0 sack and one quarterback hurry in the Illini's 9OT upset win over #7 Penn State 10/23/21 in the longest game in college football history
  • Seven tackles including 1.0 TFLs against Maryland 9/17/21
  • Seven tackles, 1.0 TFL and one PBU against Virginia 9/11/21
  • Nine tackles, 2.0 TFLs and two PBUs against UTSA 9/4/21
  • Career-high four PBUs against Nebraska 8/28/21


  • Played in and started seven games at cornerback 
  • Missed the season opener at Wisconsin with an injury 
  • 33 tackles, 1.0 TFL, two interception, one forced fumble, three fumble recoveries on the season 
  • First career interception against Minnesota 11/7/20 


  • Played in all 13 games and started three at cornerback
  • 33 tackles, two PBUs on the season
  • Led the team in special teams tackles (13)
  • Led the team in kickoff tackles (11)
  • Only true freshman defender to start a game for Illinois in 2019
  • Chase-down tackle at the goal line in the fourth quarter vs. No. 6 Wisconsin 10/19/19 led to goal-line stop to help Illinois win 24-23 and complete one of the biggest upsets in Big Ten history
  • Only true freshman to start a game for Illinois in 2019
  • Joined the Illini during training camp after initially planning to attend Hutchinson Community College (Kan.)


  • Two-year letterwinner in football
  • Played for head coach Jason McDonald at Pine Forest
  • Help Pine Forest to the 2018 District 1-6A championship and advance to the second round of the state playoffs
  • 2018 Pensacola News Journal Defensive Player of the Year
  • 2018 Pensacola News Journal All-Area first team
  • 74 tackles, nine PBUs, 2.0 TFLs, 1.0 sack, and an area-high seven interceptions as a senior
  • Scored two touchdowns as a senior, one on a fumble return and one on an interception return
  • 65 tackles, nine PBUs, 2.0 TFLs, 1.0 sack, and four interceptions as a junior, his first year playing football
  • Also played basketball and ran track in high school, helping three Pine Forest teams to district titles as a senior
  • Standout high jumper and part of multiple championship relay teams, including a Florida Class 3A state runner-up finish in the 4x100-meter relay
  • 2018 Pensacola News Journal Male Athlete of the Year for overall production in all three sports
  • Verbally committed to Illinois in July 2019, four days before training camp
  • Offers included Appalachian State, Georgia State, Massachusetts, Middle Tennessee, South Alabama, Southern Miss, Troy, Temple, and UAB
  • Originally committed to Hutchinson Community College (Kan.)


  • Born Dec. 11, 2000
  • Did not play football until his junior year of high school
  • Majoring in Communication