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Illinois' Jer'Zhan Newton named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year

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CHICAGO (CBS) – Illinois defensive tackle Jer'Zhan Newton was named the Nagurski-Woodson Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year.

Newton is widely regarded as one of the best defensive linemen in the country and led all Power Five defensive tackles in quarterback pressures for the second straight season this year. He was also named the Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year.

He also led all Big Ten defensive tackles with 44 pressures and 7.5 sacks. He led all defensive tackles in the country with 749 snaps, 73 more than the next-closest Power Five defensive tackle.

As an impact player on special teams, he also led the country with an Illinois-record four blocked kicks this season, all against Big Ten opponents.

The Big Ten Conference postseason awards are voted on by conference and a select media panel and honors teams, coaches and students with individual awards that each bear the names of one or two former standouts.

The Defensive Player of the Year Award was named in honor of Minnesota's Bronko Nagurski and Michigan's Charles Woodson.

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