UCLA received a bowl invitation despite it’s losing record. This will be Rick Neuheisal’s last game as the Bruin’s head coach. After starting 6-0 Illinois set a record by losing their last 6 games. Ron Zook was fired during the latter streak. The Illini defense has the best players in defensive end Whitney Mercillus and tackle Akeem Spence. James Franklin, the talented junior tailback for UCLA will find it difficult to run against the Illini defense. Both teams are desperate to remake their programs, however, and need this win to set teh tone heading into next season.

Illinois

Rnd Name Pos #Yr Comments
1-2Whitney MercilusDE854JrThe next great pass rusher from the Illinois football program.
2-3Akeem SpenceDT943Sopotentially dominant defensive lineman that showed immense skill as a freshman.
2-3Michael BuchananDE993JrSmall college pass rushing defensive end likely to move to outside linebacker in the NFL.
4thA.J. JenkinsWR84SrNice sized receiver with solid hands. Potential third wide out on the NFL level.
4-5Jeff AllenT714SrTerrific pass blocking left tackle with a nice upside. May be pushed inside to guard. Underrated and not given his due in the scouting community.
5thGraham PocicC764JrTough, strong and intelligent center with good size and strength. Bends well and adjusts nicely for such a large blocker.
FATerry HawthorneCB13JrDeveloping cornerback that’s shown flashes yet must pull his game together.
FATrulon HenryS94SrImposing looking safety that forces his way up the field yet also shows skills and center field. Good range and can get outside the numbers to make plays on the flanks.
FAJason FordRB214SrNice sized interior back with solid measurables that must step up his game this season.
FAIan ThomasOLB384Srundersized yet explosive weak side linebacker prospect that displays a complete game. Terrific in coverage, covering a lot of area on the field and sifts his way through the traffic to make plays against the run.
FATavon WilsonS34SrUndersized safety prospect with a solid game.
FAJohn CornellG735Sr

UCLA

Rnd Name Pos#YrComments
6thJohnathan FranklinRB234JrQuick, elusive ball carrier that finds the cutback lanes, quickly gets through them and shows the ability to beat defenders into the open field.
FANelson RosarioWR834SrBig strong possession receiver with limited speed.
7thTony DyeS64SrSolid safety effective against the run while also showing skill in coverage when facing the action. Patient, hard hitting and shows good head for the ball. Relatively instinctive. Struggles making plays with his back to the ball.
7thMichael HarrisT655SrBig, strong right tackle prospect best in a small area. Solid run blocker.
7-FACory HarkeyTE874SrAthletic tight end still rough around the edges. Blocks with solid fundamentals and gives effort yet lacks strength at the point. Nicely adjusts to make the reception in stride yet lacks consistent hands. Has an upside but must pull it all together.
FATaylor EmbreeWR824SrNice sized receiver that uses his large frame as an advantage. Solid pass catcher.
FAAaron HesterCB214JrFeisty cornerback that shows a lot of skill and has an upside.
FASheldon PriceCB223JrTough corner that does not possess next level speed. Potential dime back in zone coverage.
FAJosh SmithWR15SrColorado transfer who showed game breaking skills as a receiver and return specialist early in his career yet never progressed as a junior.
FADerrick ColemanFB334SrUnderrated fullback/ball carrier with nice size and strength.
FASean ShellerT725SrCollege left tackle that struggles in anything other than a very small area. Limited upside.
FAJamie GrahamCB255SrVanderbilt transfer that flashed skill early in his career.
FANate ChandlerDT895SrHard-working lineman with the ability to play tackle or end. Limited athlete with marginal upside.