Devon Witherspoon recently learned that he is one of the 12 semifinalists for the legendary Jim Thorpe Award, annually awarded to the best defensive back in the nation.

Witherspoon is one of 3 B1G players selected, along with Penn State’s Joey Porter Jr. and Ohio State’s Lathan Ransom.

“It means a lot,” Witherspoon said. “It’s a tremendous feeling. We just try to keep the train rolling and not really focus on that right now. Just trying to focus on keep doing my job and helping my team win. It’s just a surreal feeling knowing I’m a semifinalist for that.”

Witherspoon is the highest-graded CB in the nation, according to PFF. Witherspoon has collected 18 tackles, 1 INT, and 11 passes defended, good for 2nd in the nation.

If Witherspoon wins the Jim Thorpe Award in 2022, he will be the first B1G player to have done so since Iowa’s Desmond King II in 2015. The winner of the Jim Thorpe Award for 2022 will be announced on The Home Depot College Football Awards show on Dec. 8.

The Fighting Illini are 2nd in the nation in passing defense, allowing only 143.3 yards per game. The 6-1 Illini travel to Nebraska in Week 9.