Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 12/24/12
Despite the 2-10 Illinois campaign that was put on in 2012, defensive tackle Akeem Spence managed to put up career numbers.On Friday, Spence decided that he wanted to take the next step in his football career, and head into the 2013 NFL Draft. Spence had this to say about leaving the Illinois football program: "I would like to thank the University of Illinois for giving me an opportunity to become a great student-athlete."Spence added, "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. 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."The announcement was expected for the whole week, and despite his announcement, he must excel in his pre-draft workouts in order to rebound from his over-hyped 2012 season. Spence has decent size at 6-1, 305 pounds, but has surprising quickness at the line. Spence had 72 tackles and seven tackles for loss in 2012 following a sophomore year in which he had 69 tackles and 5.5 sacks. He has been viewed as an NFL prospect for some time because of his size and strength.My prediction is Spence going over to Denver in the third round. Three out of the four starting defensive tackles on the Broncos' roster are scheduled to become free agents. Spence could see starting time as a second or third-rounder on an NFL roster. 
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