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Can't Wait For Saturday | Of course Witherspoon made the Pro Bowl as a rookie. More honors to follow

Jan. 5—Sign up for our daily Illini football newsletter here

Greetings from "Can't Wait For Saturday," your morning morsel of college football, courtesy of longtime Illini beat writer, AP Top 25 voter and Heisman state rep Bob Asmussen. He'll give you his views each day on the game he loves.

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Congrats to Devon Witherspoon, who is playing like most thought he would as an NFL rookie cornerback.

The fifth pick in the draft hit another milestone this week, earning a spot in the Pro Bowl. He is the first rookie from Illinois to make the cut since the late, great Dick Butkus in 1965. You know how that turned out, with Butkus becoming the most respected linebacker in the history of the game.

Seattle is a great fit for Witherspoon, who is working with Pete Carroll, one of the best coaches in the league. The Seahawks fans probably helped. filling the ballot box with support for their beloved rookie. Nothing like a long pick six early in your career to excite the fans.

If he stays healthy and works like he has to this point, there will be many more Pro Bowls for Witherspoon.

Corner has been a good position for the Illini recently in the NFL. The last two players to make the Pro Bowl from the school were cornerbacks Vontae Davis and Justin Hardee.

Historically, Butkus has the most appearances by a former Illini in the Pro Bowl (eight). That number is reachable for Witherspoon.

Just a hunch that Witherspoon will have familiar company in future Pro Bowls after former teammate Johnny Newton gets on the field. Newton is expected to be an early pick in the 2024 draft.

There should be more honors on the way for Witherspoon, who is a top candidate for Defensive Rookie of the Year.