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Friday Round-Up: Devon Witherspoon Makes Fighting Illini History as Rookie Pro Bowl Selection

Seahawks rookie cornerback Devon Witherspoon becomes the first University of Illinois alum to earn a Pro Bowl nod as a rookie in over 50 years.


Good morning, 12s. Here's a look at what's out there today — Friday, January 5 — about your Seattle Seahawks.

Seahawks cornerback Devon Witherspoon Is The First Fighting Illini Rookie Pro Bowler Since Dick Butkus.

The last Illinois alum to be named to the Pro Bowl following their rookie season was linebacker and Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Dick Butkus, who passed in October. In 1965, Butkus was drafted third-overall by the Chicago Bears, while simultaneously being selected in the second round of the AFL Draft (American Football League) by the Denver Broncos prior to the merger of the two leagues. After weighing his options, Butkus joined the Bears, where he made an immediate impact, recording five interceptions. Butkus was named a first-team All-Pro, while earning the first of eight Pro Bowl selections in his Hall of Fame career, and now, 59 years later, Witherspoon joins Butkus as first-year Fighting Illini players to make the Pro Bowl.

In 13 games played, Witherspoon has recorded 68 tackles, 3.0 sacks, a forced fumble and an interception returned for a touchdown. Seattle has asked much of the rookie from Pensacola, Florida, and Witherspoon has been up for the task. Rotating between playing nickel cornerback and on the boundary, Witherspoon leads all rookies in passes defensed with 16, good enough for fifth in the league. It's been a quick transition to finding success in the league for Witherspoon, who joins Detroit Lions tight end Sam LaPorta and Los Angeles Rams wideout Puka Nacua as the only rookie selections. Witherspoon joins some elite franchise company, as one of 10 Seahawks to ever be named to the Pro Bowl as rookies, and just the third on defense.

Witherspoon made history on draft night as the highest-selected Fighting Illini player since defensive end Simeon Rice was selected third overall in 1996. With one game remaining in the regular season against the Arizona Cardinals, Witherspoon will look to help his team help themselves to get back into the playoff hunt with a win. Not only is Seattle seeing a quick return on their early draft investment, but 'Spoon is giving the Fighting Illini faithful plenty to boast about.

Social Post Of The Day

Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner now leads the franchise in selections to the initial Pro Bowl roster (not making it as an alternate) with nine, surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famer Walter Jones.

The NFL announced that three Seahawks players were selected to the 2024 Pro Bowl including linebacker Bobby Wagner, safety Julian Love and rookie cornerback Devon Witherspoon. Take a look at some of the best photos of the Seahawks Pro Bowlers during the 2023 season.

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