The roll for those leaving eligibility on the table for an early shot at the NFL has officially grown by one, with Illinois the latest to lose a player who would’ve been a significant contributor in 2013.
Following up on reports that surfaced earlier in the week, Akeem Spence confirmed Friday in a press conference that he has decided to forego his remaining season of eligibility and make himself available for the April NFL draft. The defensive tackle said he made the decision this week after consultation with his father, and after being told he would be a second- or third-round pick.
“I would like to thank the University of Illinois for giving me an opportunity to become a great student-athlete. The current and past coaching staffs have been very supportive throughout my collegiate career. I can’t say enough about the extremely loyal fans and the entire athletic department, who have all made my collegiate experience an unforgettable one,” Spence said in a statement. “This has been a very important time in my life. My family and I look forward to the journey ahead and we expect nothing less than greatness on and off the field.
“Lastly, I deeply want to thank my father for being an incredible dad and teaching me valuable life lessons that will forever be instilled in me. It’s a wonderful feeling knowing your father is in your life and wants nothing but the best for his wife and kids. With all this in mind, I have decided to forgo my senior year and enter the 2013 NFL Draft. God bless the entire Illinois community: students, professors, athletic department and fans.”
The 6-1, 305-pound tackle becomes the fourth defensive lineman thus far to officially declare early for the draft. How’d we know that? We clicked HERE, of course.