Devon Witherspoon
refer to caption
Witherspoon in 2023
No. 21 – Seattle Seahawks
Position:Cornerback
Personal information
Born: (2000-12-11) December 11, 2000 (age 23)
Pensacola, Florida, U.S.
Height:6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight:185 lb (84 kg)
Career information
High school:Pine Forest (Pensacola, Florida)
College:Illinois (2019–2022)
NFL Draft:2023 / Round: 1 / Pick: 5
Career history
Roster status:Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of 2023
Total tackles:79
Sacks:3.0
Forced fumbles:1
Pass deflections:16
Interceptions:1
Defensive touchdowns:1
Player stats at NFL.com · PFR

Devon Marquis Witherspoon (born December 11, 2000) is an American football cornerback for the Seattle Seahawks of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Illinois, where he was named the 2022 Tatum–Woodson Defensive Back of the Year. Witherspoon was selected by the Seahawks fifth overall in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Early years

Devon Witherspoon attended Pine Forest High School in Pensacola, Florida. Initially concentrating his athletic abilities on basketball, Witherspoon did not begin playing football until his junior year of high school.[1] As a senior in 2018, he was the Pensacola News Journal Defensive Player of the Year after recording 74 tackles, seven interceptions and two touchdowns.[2] He committed to play college football at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.[3]

College career

Witherspoon with Illinois in 2022.

Witherspoon was the only true freshman to start on defense for the Illinois Fighting Illini in 2019.[1] He wound up playing in every game, making 33 tackles. As a sophomore in 2020, he recorded 33 tackles and two interceptions.[4][5]

He played and started 10 games his junior year in 2021, finishing with 52 tackles and one sack.[6] Witherspoon returned to Illinois his senior year in 2022, beginning the year as the Big Ten Conference leader in passes defended.[7]

A supremely confident player, Witherspoon was regarded as the leading trash-talker on the Fighting Illini team during his tenure. When asked about the biggest talkers on the squad, offensive teammate Isaiah Williams joked that "Spoon is number one. Spoon is at one and then we go to like five."[8]

"I gotta talk, it's just me. I can't live without doing it," Witherspoon acknowledged.[8]

During his senior year Witherspoon was named one of twelve finalists for the Jim Thorpe Award, presented to the nation's top defensive back.[7] He was selected as the 2022 Tatum–Woodson Defensive Back of the Year, an award given to the top defensive back in the Big Ten Conference, and was named a consensus All-American at the season's conclusion.[9]

Professional career

Pre-draft measurables
Height Weight Arm length Hand span 40-yard dash 10-yard split 20-yard split
5 ft 11+12 in
(1.82 m)
181 lb
(82 kg)
31+14 in
(0.79 m)
8+78 in
(0.23 m)
4.45 s 1.58 s 2.55 s
[10]

Witherspoon was selected by the Seattle Seahawks fifth overall in the 2023 NFL Draft.[11] The Seahawks obtained this draft pick as part of the blockbuster trade that sent Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos in the previous offseason.[12]

In Week 4 of the 2023 season, Witherspoon recorded his first career interception on a pass from quarterback Daniel Jones in a 24-3 win against the New York Giants. He returned the interception 97 yards for a pick-six,[13] the second-longest pick-six in team history, the longest being a 98 yard pick six by Bobby Wagner against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 13 of the 2018 season.[14] That same game, Witherspoon became the third rookie in NFL history to record 2.0+ sacks and a pick-six in a single game, along with Todd Shell and Andy Katzenmoyer, and the first player, rookie or not, to record both 2.0+ sacks and a 95+ yard pick six in a game since sacks became an official stat in 1982.[15] For this performance, Witherspoon won National Football Conference Defensive Player of the Week.[16]

NFL career statistics

Legend
Bold Career high

Regular season

Year Team Games Tackles Interceptions Fumbles
GP GS Cmb Solo Ast Sck PD Int Yds Avg Lng TD FF FR
2023 SEA 14 13 79 56 23 3.0 16 1 97 97.0 97T 1 1 0
Career 14 13 79 56 23 3.0 16 1 97 97.0 97T 1 1 0

References

  1. ^ a b Kimball, Anderson (August 5, 2022). "Devon Witherspoon succeeding as Illinois' top cornerback and trash-talker". Pantagraph.com. Retrieved June 2, 2023.
  2. ^ Achatz, Brian (December 24, 2018). "Witherspoon's lockdown defense was equally important as his enthusiasm and spark". Pensacola News Journal. Archived from the original on May 7, 2023. Retrieved June 2, 2023.
  3. ^ Wallace, Eric J. (July 30, 2019). "Pine Forest standout Devon Witherspoon to play football at Illinois". Pensacola News Journal. Archived from the original on February 4, 2023. Retrieved June 2, 2023.
  4. ^ Hayes, Pete (November 10, 2020). "Lovie: Pound-for-pound, Witherspoon is Illini's toughest". Alton Telegraph. Retrieved June 2, 2023.
  5. ^ Achatz, Brian (December 11, 2020). "Witherspoon breaks down journey from JUCO through rise at Illinois". Pensacola News Journal. Archived from the original on January 20, 2022. Retrieved June 2, 2023.
  6. ^ Kimball, Anderson (August 5, 2022). "Devon Witherspoon succeeding as Illinois' top cornerback and trash-talker". Pantagraph.com. Retrieved May 18, 2023.
  7. ^ a b Kimball, Anderson (August 7, 2022). "Climbing the Charts: Devon Witherspoon Succeeding as Illinois' Top Cornerback". Southern Illinoisan. p. A6. Retrieved June 2, 2023 – via Newspapers.com.
  8. ^ a b Werner, Jeremy (August 2, 2022). "Brash Illini CB Devon Witherspoon backs up talking trash: 'He's a hell of a competitor'". 247Sports. Retrieved June 2, 2023.
  9. ^ Farrar, Doug (September 2, 2022). "Illinois' Devon Witherspoon's killer tackle based on football smarts". Touchdown Wire. Archived from the original on February 9, 2023. Retrieved June 2, 2023.
  10. ^ "Devon Witherspoon Draft and Combine Prospect Profile". NFL.com. Retrieved April 10, 2023.
  11. ^ "Seahawks Select CB Devon Witherspoon With 5th Overall Pick". Seahawks.com. April 27, 2023. Retrieved May 18, 2023.
  12. ^ "Broncos trade for nine-time Pro Bowl QB Russell Wilson". www.denverbroncos.com. Retrieved October 7, 2023.
  13. ^ Williams, Charean (October 3, 2023). "Devon Witherspoon's 97-yard pick-six gives Seahawks 21-3 lead". NBC Sports. Retrieved October 3, 2023.
  14. ^ Mathews, Liz (February 20, 2019). "Bobby Wagner's pick-6 ranked 7th-best defensive touchdown of 2018". Seahawks Wire. USA Today. Retrieved October 3, 2023.
  15. ^ Farrar, Doug (October 2, 2023). "Seahawks rookie CB Devon Witherspoon makes NFL history with massive game". Touchdown Wire. USA Today.
  16. ^ Gordon, Grant (October 4, 2023). "Bills quarterback Josh Allen, 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey highlight Players of the Week". NFL.com. Retrieved October 5, 2023.