Leshoure skipping senior season

Leshoure skipping senior season

Asmussen discusses Leshoure's decision here.

CHAMPAIGN – Jazz Jones wasn't about to tell her son what to do. Just like in 2007, when he was deciding on a college.

That time, Mikel Leshoure picked Illinois. This time, one of the top running backs in Illini history picked the NFL. A year early.

"At the end of the day, nobody has to live with this decision but him," Jones said. "I didn't want the decision to be based on 'What Mama thought.' "

Leshoure is scheduled to make it official this morning at Centennial High School, where he was a two-time News-Gazette All-Stater before joining Ron Zook at Illinois.

Coming off the best single season for any Illini running back, Leshoure will immediately start preparing for the NFL combine and individual workouts. He will train in Arizona.

"I know it wasn't an easy choice," Jones said. "He did his homework as far as weighing his options. He looked at the pros and cons of leaving and the pros and cons of staying."

Of course, Leshoure sought advice from his family members and friends. But the choice was his alone.

"This is something that he wanted to do," Jones said. "He prayed on it and gave it to God. He's just going to go on with it in faith."

And he's going on with the support of Illinois coach Ron Zook. The family met with Zook on Saturday.

"He said Mikel has proven to him that he is capable of anything," Jones said. "He wished Mikel well. He spoke very highly of the maturity Mikel has shown. He said he's going to do whatever he can to help my son. I appreciate what he has done for my son."

Zook wanted to be at the press conference, but is banned by NCAA rules from attending because it is at a high school during a recruiting dead period. In fact, none of the Illinois coaches will be allowed to attend.

Jones said the feedback from the NFL has been varied.

"We've learned too much stuff," Jones said. "We've heard first and second (rounds). We've heard fourth. We've heard third. All types of stuff."

Categories (3):Illini Sports, Football, Sports


News-Gazette.com embraces discussion of both community and world issues. We welcome you to contribute your ideas, opinions and comments, but we ask that you avoid personal attacks, vulgarity and hate speech. We reserve the right to remove any comment at our discretion, and we will block repeat offenders' accounts. To post comments, you must first be a registered user, and your username will appear with any comment you post. Happy posting.

Login or register to post comments

pblinger wrote on January 11, 2011 at 11:01 am

Not really for sure this is the right move for both. Wilson seemed to take plays off and Leshoure had only one outstanding year. Plus the NFL/Players union are at odds and a potential work stoppage is on the horizon.

My advice is stay in school another year and make your stock go up!

CKelly wrote on January 11, 2011 at 2:01 pm

Thank you, Mikel. We're sure you'll make us proud in the NFL.

bobStanley2 wrote on January 11, 2011 at 5:01 pm

I think Leshoure made the right move. Running Backs typically don't last very long in the NFL (3 years). If you have an opportunity to be drafted in the first or second round as a running back, and get guaranteed money, you have to take it.

By most scouts, Liuget is going to be a first round pick, so it makes sense for him to go as well.

Wilson makes the least sense, especially since he only played one year at middle linebacker. He still might get picked high, since he is a freak athlete and can play 3 positions at the next level (OLB/ILB,DE).

basset_11721 wrote on January 11, 2011 at 6:01 pm

See the recent county court filings for another financial motive behind the decision