The 90 Illini #43: Eaton Spence July 20, 2012
6′-0″, 180 lbs.
rs-Freshman (on scholarship, 4 years to play 4)
Glades Day HS / Belle Glade, Florida
ALE Ranking last year: #84
What I Know About Him:
Vic Koenning loved Eaton Spence, so I love Eaton Spence. I believe Vic’s quote was “he tackles with his face”. Vic told me that one of the most underrated areas of Florida to recruit was the Glades area (the area between Lake Okeechobee and West Palm Beach) – he found players from there while at Troy and at Clemson and at Illinois. And he found both JT Thornton and Eaton Spence there for the Illini (although Thornton didn’t qualify).
Spence redshirted last year while fellow freshman cornerback Cooper played, but Cooper then transferred to Georgia Southern. Which means Spence is the lone cornerback on the roster from the 2010 and 2011 classes. Which means he’s about to become a really important part of the Illini defense.
What I Expect From Him:
Our starting cornerbacks – Terry Hawthorne and Justin Green – will play a lot. And I think fellow-senior Jack Ramsey will see a lot of minutes as well. But the defensive coaching staff must get Spence and one of the freshman (V’Angelo Bentley?) some playing time, because in 2013, they’re all we have. And you don’t want to go into a season with two cornerbacks who have never played a minute.
So here’s how I see it. We need to get Spence some minutes. We want to use Hawthorne (and maybe Green) on offense. So there’s your solution. Hawthorne and Green play less snaps at corner so that they can A) get some snaps with the offense, and B) let the young guys, who will be starting in 2013, get some live-action playing time. Which means Spence needs to be ready to cover Roy Roundtree on a go-route ASAP. (Memo to Eaton: tackle him with your face).