Benn still weighing NFL draft options

As the Illinois football team moves on from its 3-9 football season, all eyes will be on junior wide receiver Arrelious Benn, who will decide in the offseason whether to forego his senior season and enter the NFL draft.

“That’s a decision I’ll make down the road,” Benn said. “The only decision is whether or not I want to make that decision. If I’m that eager to go, the NFL will be there. But college will still be here, and if I stay, then I can get my degree.”

The 6-foot-2, 220-pound junior is projected to be taken in the first round of the draft if he chooses to leave, with most experts ranking Benn as the nation’s second-best prospect at wide receiver behind Oklahoma State’s Dez Bryant.

Benn’s mother, Denise Benn, has publicly said that she would like for her son to come back to Illinois for his senior season.

“My mom will always speak her opinion,” Benn said. “She’ll speak out like any mother would do. She just cares about me and my education.”

A factor that may sway Benn’s decision is the fact that Illinois offered a scholarship last week to Benn’s older brother, Trulon Henry, a 25-year-old defensive back at the College of Dupage in Glen Ellyn, Ill.

If Benn returns for his senior season, he could play a season with Henry, who spent nearly five years in prison for armed robbery.

Benn said the prospect of injuries will not affect his decision.

The past season was an injury-plagued one for Benn, starting with a sprained ankle on the first drive of the season-opener against Missouri.

“Injuries always happen,” Benn said.

“Even with the injuries, I got to play through all the games. It’s just football. I have the type of football to endure that.”

LeShoure leads Illini offense

Leading Illinois’ 548-yard offensive explosion Saturday was running back Mikel LeShoure, who compiled 184 rushing yards on 11 carries in the team’s 53-52 loss to Fresno State.

“Things opened up for me, and I took advantage of what we had,” LeShoure said.

“You have to keep going. You aren’t going to have big runs every carry you get.”

LeShoure had two rushing touchdowns and a receiving touchdown on the day, including a 61-yard score in which he raced past the entire Fresno State defense.

“He’s deceptively fast,” offensive coordinator Mike Schultz said. “Fresno State is a good football team, there’s no doubt. They’ve got some fast players on defense, and Mikel broke out and was pulling away on that score.”