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.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Alabama outside linebacker Will Anderson Jr. has become the second two-time winner of the Bronko Nagurski Award given to the nation’s top collegiate defensive player.
Anderson was presented the award on Monday night by the Charlotte Touchdown Club.
The 6-foot-4, 243-pound Anderson had 10 sacks for the No. 5-ranked Crimson Tide this season. He also won the award last year after recording 17 1/2 sacks.
Anderson, a junior, had two sacks in Alabama’s regular-season win finale against rival Auburn and had his first touchdown when he returned an interception 25 yards against Louisiana-Monroe.
Anderson joins former Northwestern linebacker Pat Fitzgerald as the only two-time winner of the award. Fitzgerald won the award in 1995 and 1996 and later went on to become the head coach at Northwestern.
It’s unclear if Anderson will enter the NFL draft or return to Alabama next season.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida State quarterback Jordan Travis, the fourth player in school history to account for 3,000 yards and 30 touchdowns in a single season, is staying in school for his senior year.
Travis made the announcement Monday, the same day hundreds of players across the nation entered the NCAA transfer portal or declared for the NFL draft. Travis chose a different path and could be an early favorite in next year’s Heisman Trophy race.
“So many memories have been made on this field and we’re not done yet,” Travis said in a highlight video posted on social media. “See y’all in 2023.”
A fourth-year junior, Travis has 22 touchdown passes to go along with seven rushing scores, one receiving and just four interceptions. He has led the 13th-ranked Seminoles (9-3) to five consecutive wins as they prepare to play Oklahoma (6-6) in the Cheez-It Bowl on Dec. 29 in Orlando.
Travis joined FSU’s three Heisman Trophy winners – Charlie Ward in 1993, Chris Weinke in 2000 and Jameis Winston in 2013 – to account for 3,000 yards and 30 TDs in a season. He is one of six QBs in Power Five conferences with at least 20 TD passes and four or fewer interceptions.