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As expected, RB Leshoure leaving Illini for NFL

Illinois lost a defensive starter to early entry into the NFL Monday. Tuesday, they officially lost their most explosive playmaker on the offensive side of the ball.

While he won’t make it officially official until later on this morning at a press conference at his high school, Mikel Leshoure‘s mother confirmed that the running back has decided to leave the Illini and make his way into the April NFL draft.

“At the end of the day, nobody has to live with this decision but him,” Jazz Jones, Leshoure’s mother, told the Champaign News-Gazette. “I didn’t want the decision to be based on ‘What Mama thought.’ ...

“I know it wasn’t an easy choice. He did his homework as far as weighing his options. He looked at the pros and cons of leaving and the pros and cons of staying.”

Leshoure rushed for a school-record 1,697 yards, including a 330-yard performance against Northwestern at Wrigley Field in late November. He also added 20 total touchdowns -- 17 rushing, three receiving.