Johnny Newton, Keith Randolph Jr. confirm plans for 2024
Johnny Newton and Keith Randolph Jr. have been a dynamic duo for the defensive line of Illinois. Both players have eligibility beyond 2023 with the Illini, but the two confirmed their future plans on Tuesday.
According to Joey Wagner with the Illini Inquirer, both players confirmed that they will declare for the 2024 NFL Draft at the end of the season. With a 5-6 record, a bowl game is still a possibility for the Illini, and Newton has confirmed he will bypass the bowl if Illinois qualifies. Randolph is undecided.
Isaiah Williams — the team’s leading receiver — said he is undecided at this point about his next step.
ESPN BET is now live in Illinois
Use promo code SATURDAY to get your $250 bonus
No surprises: Both #illini DL Johnny Newton and Keith Randolph will declare for the NFL following the season, they said. Newton won’t play in a potential bowl game and Randolph is undecided.
WR Isaiah Williams said he’s still deciding on his next move.
— Joey Wagner (@mrwagner25) November 21, 2023
This season, Newton is tied for second on the Illini defense with 6.5 TFL and is second with 5.5 sacks. Randolph has 4 TFL and 1.5 sacks.
Last season, Newton had a breakout performance with 14 TFL and 5.5 sacks and is widely regarded as one of the best interior defenders available for the 2024 Draft. Randolph had 13 TFL and 4.5 sacks a season ago.
Along with Newton’s work as a defender, he has been credited with 4 blocked kicks on special teams. Per an Illini graphic, he also leads the Power 5 in total snaps played by a defensive tackle this season.
— Illinois Football (@IlliniFootball) November 21, 2023