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Monday, January 10, 2011
Mikel Leshoure to announce plans Tuesday

By Adam Rittenberg

Illinois running back Mikel Leshoure has scheduled a news conference for 11 a.m. ET Tuesday at his high school to announce his future plans.

Leshoure made the news conference announcement through a Chicago-based public relations firm. After the initial announcement in Champaign, Leshoure will travel to Chicago later Tuesday for more media interviews.

Translation: bye, bye, Illinois.

I'll have a full reaction when Leshoure makes it official, but he's making the right call by entering the NFL draft. When running backs are ready, they should go pro and not look back.

Anyone who watched Leshoure this fall knows he's ready.

The first-team All-Big Ten selection set a team rushing record and had more runs of 30 yards or longer than any back in the country.

If defensive tackle Corey Liuget goes pro, Illinois will lose three major contributors along with Leshoure and linebacker Martez Wilson, who announced Monday that he's entering the draft.

We'll have to see what happens with players from teams like Iowa and Ohio State, but it appears like Illinois and Wisconsin will be hit hardest by the early NFL departures.