And the first of the three Illinois Fighting Illini dominoes falls. Linebacker Martez Wilson, the player with the lowest draft stock of the three, is declaring for the NFL Draft. This is a big surprising to me, as he had a good, but not great season in 2010. And his junior season was much more productive than his other two years in school.
Still, you know the NFL scouts love measurables and potential as much if not more than on-the-field resume, so maybe Tez should try his luck. No word on Corey Liuget yet, but rumors are he’s leaving. We have also heard nothing definitive on the Mikel Leshoure front as of yet.
According to the Chicago Tribune’s Shannon Ryan:
Wilson, a Simeon High graduate, was an all-Big Ten linebacker this season, helping lead the Illini to the Texas Bowl with a team-high 112 tackles. He redshirted in 2008 and had missed the previous season with a neck injury.
Running back Mikel Leshoure and defensive tackle Corey Liuget will be making decisions soon on their futures as well. The two reportedly have met with head coach Ron Zook and are leaning toward entering the draft.
And here’s an excerpt on a must-read piece from the Peoria Journal-Star’s John Supinie:
Leshoure appears the most likely candidate to leave early, and perhaps all three already would have declared for the NFL draft had it not been for the labor issues.
With negotiations already ongoing for two years and the collective bargaining agreement expiring March 4, a lockout appears imminent. That leaves the 2011 season and a $9 billion business in jeopardy. There doesn’t appear to be much movement between owners and the players over salaries and an extended regular season.
An early jump to the NFL by a college junior looks like a bad decision.
Agents could lure players out of college by offering money to cover expenses if the NFL is shut down, but that’s only a loan. Players would be spending their own money instead of living off a scholarship and stipend from college football. If there’s concern over injuries, insurance is available. The deadline to enter the NFL draft is Jan. 15.