Illinois' Akeem Spence to Declare for 2013 NFL Draft

By Connor Muldowney
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Well, if the Illinois football season could get any worse, it just did as their top defensive lineman, Akeem Spence, is reportedly planning to enter the 2013 NFL Draft.

Spence has been a tough presence for Big Ten offenses in the past two seasons and will be making the choice after a rough 2-10 season for the Illini under first-year head coach Tim Beckman.

Amidst the horrific season for the Illini, there had been talks of firing the first-year coach although he had yet to bring in his players. This declaration for the draft could be a result of the coach’s unpopularity.

It’s obvious that Spence could use another year in college to fully develop his skills, but he is taking no chances at Illinois.

ESPN rates Spence at the 10th best prospect at his position and the 45th best overall prospect for the 2013 NFL Draft.

Spence had 72 tackles this season with just a single sack. His career at Illinois was successful overall as the Florida-native accumulated 186 tackles and four sacks.

At 6-foot-1 and 305 pounds, the defensive lineman will be a solid NFL tackle and will be a force to be reckoned with considering his size and strength.

Nothing has been said as to why the junior defensive lineman is leaving early, whether it is Illinois’ terrible defense– ranked 95th in the country in points allowed– or the wretched offense. The offense held the team back more than anything as they were close to the bottom of all college football teams in points for, passing yards and rushing yards.

Whatever the reason, Akeem Spence should just be happy he will no longer have to deal with Tim Beckman.

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