When Akeem Spence was selected with the third pick in the fourth round (150th overall) by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, many believed that his new NFL team had found an immediate starter on the defensive line.
Spence, a 6-foot-1, 307-pound defensive tackle, can take over the vacant nose tackle spot left behind by Roy Miller. Miller signed a deal with the Jaguars on March 15.
The Illinois Fighting Illini had four players - Hugh Thornton (Indianapolis Colts), Akeem Spence (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Terry Hawthorne (Pittsburgh Steelers) and Michael Buchanan (New England Patriots) - selected in the recently completed NFL Draft. There were no surprises of which four were picked among the 254 selections, but the order in which they went was not what many analysts...
TAMPA, Fla. With depth addressed at cornerback and quarterback on Day 2 of the NFL draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers spent Saturday afternoon adding talent in other defensive areas. As with Fridays movement, the Bucs new additions were selected without a must need in mind, but they could become key presences as coach Greg Schiano and general manager Mark Dominik continue to make a...
Illinois defensive tackle Akeem Spence got the call he was waiting for on Saturday in the fourth round, but it wasn't who he expected. Instead, it turned out better than he expected.
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...
Coming off a 2-10 season, there will be changes in Tim Beckman's second season as Illinois coach.
Spring practice starts Tuesday after an offseason of coaching turnover.
Beckman changed much of his staff, bringing in new offensive coordinator Bill Cubit and adding new assistants on both sides of the ball.
And Illinois will play without four of the most talented players off...
Via AP on Fox
March 04, 2013
"When I drive an offensive lineman back in the backfield, I like to think I'm (Ndamukong) Suh. He's aggressive, nasty, and I like that," smiled Spence. The Illinois defensive tackle really hasn't stopped smiling since arriving in Indianapolis. "Just enjoying the process," he said, crediting players before him and his career in the Big Ten in helping...
2013 NFL Scouting Combine Saturday and Sunday News and Notesby Tyler LurkinsSaturday and Sunday’s Combine News and NotesWIDE RECIEVER’STavon Austin-Austin put on a show and had scouts drooling. He really needed to prove he can fight for the ball. After his massive display in the weight room, Austin shows the strength to out muscle a corner. Speed and hands were also proven and...
Queen City Sports DT Rankings:
1. Star Lotulelei, Utah (40 pts)
2. Sheldon Richardson, Missouri (36 pts)
3. Shariff Floyd, Florida (29 pts)
4. Johnathan Hankins, Ohio State (26 pts)
5. Jesse Williams, Alabama (25 pts)
6. John Jenkins, Georgia (22 pts)
7. Kawann Short, Purdue (18 pts)
8. Akeem Spence, Illinois (8 pts)
9. Brandon Williams, Missouri Southern State (7 pts)
Wisconsin will open the Gary Andersen era 4-1, well, at least according to our WAY too Early schedule breakdown to date, thanks to a narrow win over a very tough Northwestern team. Perhaps the Badgers would rather see Michigan State on their schedule, right?
O.k., perhaps that's a small stretch, but moving forward we stay with the Land of Lincoln rivalry as Wisconsin makes...
New York Giants 7 Round 2013 NFL Mock Draftby Peter Shaw1. Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia:The Giants need serious help at linebacker when your best linebacker is Michael Boley, the LB corps can use an upgrade. Ogletree has the speed and instincts to play inside or outside in the 4-3 scheme the Giants use.2. Dallas Thomas, OG/OT, Tennessee:Kevin Boothe’s contract is up and at 32 Jerry...
The silliest of seasons is about to begin - no we aren't talking about the college football carousel - which arguably was about as crazy as it's ever been. Instead we are talking about the NFL draft process. You and I will probably be checking the bazillions of mock drafts checking on your favorite college teams draft prospects and of course your favorite NFL teams projected...
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...
Despite not having great on field success in the past few seasons, Illinois has had a history of developing solid and highly picked NFL prospects. In the past five years, they've produced five first round picks, five second rounder, and sixteen draft picks overall since 2008.
And while it may be a bit of a questionable decision, Akeen Spence, defensive tackle from Illinois...
The Penn State and Illinois camps seem to agree on one thing ahead of their Big Ten opener Saturday: Last summer's visit by Illinois coaches to talk to players interested in leaving Penn State doesn't matter much now.
Illini quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase said he doesn't think the players will be talking about ''what went on in July'' after that first...
Via AP on Fox
September 28, 2012
Whatever went wrong at Illinois last season, its defense was a frenzied, high-pressure group that sacked quarterbacks, dragged ball carriers down behind the line and was without question among the best in the country.
Most of the key players are back from that unit, but after Saturday's 52-24 home loss to Louisiana Tech and a 45-14 whipping two weeks earlier at Arizona State...
Via AP on Fox
September 25, 2012
Updates. With AP Photos. By DAVID MERCER Associated Press Nathan Scheelhaase's absence at quarterback was a big problem for Illinois.
So was the downright panic in the Illini defense as Arizona State drove down the field en route to a 45-14 win on Saturday.
It isn't clear yet whether Scheelhaase will return from his ankle injury this Saturday against Charleston Southern...
Via AP on Fox
September 11, 2012
Illinois will need a run-stuffing defensive tackle or two to take over for Akeem Spence once he graduates. In the 6th installment of our Commit Capsule series, we look at defensive tackle Merrick Jackson.
Fighting Illini coach Tim Beckman proclaims his biggest recruits to date were the four juniors who chose to return for another year rather than test NFL waters. Among the four is defensive tackle Akeem Spence. The redshirt junior continues to develop, and he sees big things ahead for the Illini defense.
2011 Record: (7-6, 2-6 in Big Ten)
Head Coach: Tim Beckman (first year at Illinois, 21-16 All-Time)
Coaches by the Numbers Hiring Grade: B-
Last Bowl Game: 2011 Fight Hunger Bowl: beat UCLA 20-14
2012 Schedule Link
Must Win: 9/1 vs WMU, 9/15 vs Charleston Southern, 9/22 vs Louisiana Tech, 10/27 vs Indiana, 11/10 vs Minnesota
Today, we continue our preseason opponent preview series in which we’re going in order of easiest to toughest opponent on the schedule. Last week, we previewed the easiest opponent, UMass, and the second easiest, Minnesota. This time, we take a look at the third easiest opponent Michigan will face in 2012, the Illinois Fighting Illini.
New Illini headman Tim Beckman will...
(Big Tentacles is the SWRT look at the Big Ten, its sway over the
college football landscape and that school in South Bend it
Feels Like Home.
Urban Meyer finds similarities between Ohio State and his old stomping grounds of Florida. (ESPN)
Roll With the Changes.
Iowa quarterback James Vandenberg is adjusting to new Hawkeye offensive...
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...
The Fighting Illini defensive line has been playing much better than most expected preseason. Boundary defenders Whitney Mercilus and Michael Buchanan are getting much of the credit, but the stingy defense against the run is tackle Akeem Spence's domain. He is proving his outstanding freshman season is no fluke.