Illinois' Mercilus to enter draft early

January, 3, 2012
1/03/12
10:55
AM CT
Illinois junior defensive end Whitney Mercilus will forgo his senior season and enter the NFL draft, the school announced on Tuesday.

Mercilus, a consensus first-team All-American, led the country with 16 sacks this season and tied Simeon Rice for Illinois' single-season record. He also broke the Big Ten's single-season record with nine forced fumbles and was ranked second in the country with 22.5 tackles for loss.
Scott Powers is the Blackhawks beat reporter for ESPNChicago.com. He is an award-winning journalist and has been reporting on preps, colleges and pros for publications throughout the Midwest since 1997.

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