Despite ending their first season 2-10 under first-year coach Tim Beckman, the Illinois Fighting Illini will still be well represented at the upcoming NFL Draft.
Offensive guard Hugh Thornton, defensive linemen Michael Buchanan and Akeem Spence, and cornerback Terry Hawthorne lead the group of former Illini players hoping to hear their names called at the draft, which will be conducted from April 25-27 at the Radio City Music Hall in New York.
Thornton is likely to be the first former Illini selected. The 6-foot-3, 330-pound guard is listed as the sixth best at his position by CBS Sports, which also believes he will go in either the third or fourth round. Thornton started 11 games, with 10 of them coming at left tackle. He named to the All-Big Ten second team by the coach and was an honorable mention by the media.
Buchanan, a 6-foot-6 defensive end, was a second-team All-Big Ten selection the last two seasons. He had a combined 121 tackles and 12 sacks, including 57 tackles and 4...