Mizzou and Illinois players looking to impress at combine

2:35 AM, Feb 21, 2013   |    comments
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(KSDK Sports) -- They call it "The Path to Primetime," where more than 300 top prospects will continue on their quest to achieve their NFL dreams.  Among the 300 will be players with ties to the Universities of Missouri and Illinois.

MIZZOU Players @ NFL Combine
• Sheldon Richardson (DT)
o No. 10 overall ranked prospect according to ESPN's Scouts Inc.
o 2012 = 75 tackles (10.5 for loss), 4 sacks, 3 FF, and 7 QB hurries.
o 2012 season he earned 1st team All-SEC honors.
o Pros: good athleticism, high motor, quick first step.
o Cons: suspended one game in 2012 for violating team rules.

• Zaviar Gooden (LB)
o In 2010 he set career highs after recording 84 tackles, 3 sacks, 2 interceptions (sophomore season).
o In 2012 he recorded only 61 tackles (4 for loss).
o Missed 2 games due to injury in 2012

• T.J. Moe (WR)
o Like Gooden, Moe set college career highs his sophomore yr (with Gabbert as QB) catching 92 balls totaling 1045 yrd receiving.
o In 2011, Moe caught 54 passes for 649 yrs and 40 receptions for 399 yards in 2012.
o Pros: tough, fearless (slot) receiver willing to run routs between the numbers.
o Cons: doesn't have ideal height or elite speed.
o Projection: late round pick or possible free agent.

ILLINOIS Players @ Combine
• Akeem Spence (DT)
o In 2011, Spence became a full-time starter recording 69 tackles (5.5 for loss) and 1.5 sacks.
o As a junior (2012) Spence tallied 72 tackles (7 for loss) and one sack.
o Pros: Large build, moves well, strong tackler, holds at point of attack, and lots of starting experience.
o Cons: Snap reaction, pass rush, handling double teams, and use of his power.

• Michael Buchanan (DE)
o In 2011, he recorded 64 tackles (13.5 for loss) along with 7.5 sacks.
o In the last two bowl games, Buchanan totaled 4 tackles and a sack in 2011 and assisted in 3 tackles for loss with one sack.
o In 2012 Buchanan needed to add weight and improve his strength but couldn't due to recovering from a broken jaw suffered in an altercation earlier in the summer.
o 2012, he had 57 tackles (7 for loss) and 4.5 sacks but still received honorable mention All-Conference.
o Pros: Height & length. Can cover ground with long strides and creates separation from OL with hand swats. Good motor to catch ball carriers downfield. Athletic.
o Cons: Very lean build, lacks upper-body strength, dives when tackling, upright playing style.

• Terry Hawthorne (CB)
o In 2011, he tied the Big Ten conference record of 11 passes defended (3 INTs and 8 break-ups).
o 2012 he finished with 43 tackles (4 for loss), one sack, 6 pass break-ups and one interception while missing one start.
o Pros: Physicality. Height and vertical. Can match up against opponents best WR and good run stopper.
o Cons: Backpedalling, takes risks, ball security, and elusiveness. Catches ball with chest and not hands.

• Hugh Thornton (OL)
o Rough family history means he can overcome obstacles.
o Pros: Versatility and athleticism, finished block into the ground. Good footwork and handwork along with a strong upper and lower-body.
o Cons: Lateral movement to stay outside. Trouble holding his ground against bull rushes because of hand position.

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