Mikel Leshoure: 2011 NFL Draft Prospects
Running back Mikel Leshoure (H: 6’0″ – W: 230 – College: Illinois)
Fighting Illini running back Mikel Leshoure came out of nowhere to rush for 1,697 yards and 17 TDs in 2010. In the Texas Bowl, Leshoure carried Illinois to the victory with 184 yards and 3 TDs to beat the Baylor Bears. And with that strong 2010 season, Leshoure is now widely-considered one of the top RB prospects in the 2011 NFL Draft.
Leshoure played high school ball in Champaign, Illinois and committed to his hometown university at Illinois. He was rated a three-star recruit by Rivals.com. In his high school career, he rushed for 4,652 yards and 52 touchdowns.
As a freshman for the Fighting Illini, he was used in a limited capacity with a season-high of 49 yards against Eastern Illinois. In his sophomore year, he flashed what was to come in 2010. In a three game span, he rushed for 350 yards and a TD against Indiana, Purdue and Michigan.
His best performance that year came against Fresno State when it ended up being current San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews versus Leshoure. Leshoure had 184 rush yards, 22 receiving yards and 3 total TD in a loss, 53-52. Leshoure ended up outgaining Mathews who then went on to become the No. 1 RB selected in the 2010 NFL Draft.
Leshoure could very well be the top RB selected as well.
Strengths: Stout frame. Above average vision. Great burst once he finds a lane. Runs with a low pad level and looks to catch defenders off guard with contact. Hits top speed very quickly. Good ball security. Put up consistently good numbers once a full-time starter. Runs downhill. Not flashy, hits the hole with a full head of steam. Good pedigree of running backs from Illinois in recent years (Pierre Thomas and Rashard Mendenhall). Runs well through traffic.
Weaknesses: Character issues. Not a very good combine performance. Got in a fight in his freshman year at Illinois and got a broken jaw. Didn’t get serious about his conditioning until his junior year. Only one productive season, could be one year wonder. Sometimes goes for the big play rather than taking the yards that are right there which causes negative plays.
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