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Friday, April 27, 2012
Record four Illini drafted in first two rounds

By Scott Powers

Illinois set a school record by having four players selected in the first two rounds of this year’s NFL draft.

Illinois senior offensive lineman Jeff Allen and senior safety Tavon Wilson became the third and fourth Illini players taken in the draft on Friday. Allen was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in the second round as the No. 44 overall pick. Wilson was taken by the New England Patriots in the second round as the No. 48 pick.

In the first round on Thursday, defensive end Whitney Mercilus went to the Houston Texas as the No. 26 pick and wide receiver A.J. Jenkins was selected by the San Francisco 49ers with the 30th pick.

Illinois hadn’t previously had more than two players selected in the first two rounds.

“It means a lot,” Allen said of the four draft picks. “We’ve always had talent. We’ve had great players taken in the draft. To have four players in the first two rounds is unbelievable. It’s something you can’t describe. I’m just so happy for all my teammates right now.”

Allen, who attended King High School in Chicago, will join former Illinois teammate Jon Asamoah on the Chiefs’ offensive line. Asamoah was drafted by the Chiefs in the third round in 2010 and started 16 games for them last season.

Wilson had 81 tackles, including 51 solo, and one interception last season for Illinois.

The Illini had four players taken in the draft last year. Three of those picks came in the first three rounds.