The 90 Illini #4: Akeem Spence August 28, 2012
6′-1″, 305 lbs.
Junior (on scholarship, 2 years to play 2)
Fort Walton Beach HS / Fort Walton Beach, Florida
ALE Ranking last year: #2
ALE Ranking in 2010: #27
What I Know About Him:
I had him #2 last year? Meaning I’ve dropped him two spots? Totally unfair. He’s more important this year than last year. Maybe I should go back and retroactively make Mercilus, Tavon Wilson, and Jonathan Brown 1-2-3 last year so that Spence could be 4 and he wouldn’t have dropped any spots this year.
Akeem Spence is simply an immovable object. Ask Graham Pocic who’s the best D-Tackle he’s faced, and he’ll tell you Akeem Spence. Look up a lot of the Illini weightlifting records and you’ll see Jay Prosch and Akeem Spence. Look at the NFL early entries list next year and you’ll see… Akeem Spence. He’ll graduate in December with his degree. He’s so gone.
What I Expect From Him:
I’m hoping for an All Big Ten season. My guess is that these top-5 players will all find themselves on the first or second All Big Ten team come December. There’s a lot of competition at defensive tackle, and we’re not Ohio State, so it will be difficult for Spence to make the first team. Kawaan Short and Jonathan Hankins are great, great players, so Spence probably won’t be first team. But I’ll start a minor riot if he has the season he’s capable of and then doesn’t make at least the second team All Big Ten.
No, he won’t put up Corey Liuget numbers. That’s not his job. He’ll be a true nose guard in this defense – shade the center and make a mess of the middle of the field on every play (Glenn Foster gets to try to be a poor man’s Corey Liuget). But Spence will be the key. To the whole defense, really. Want to know why Jonathan Brown will have so many tackles this year? They guy who is supposed to chip him will have trouble getting past Akeem Spence.