University of Illinois Fighting Illini
5-foot-11 3/4, 233 pounds
Champaign, Illinois: Centennial High School
OverviewAfter patiently biding his time during his first two seasons with the Illini, Leshoure burst on to the national scene as a junior, ranking fifth in the nation and second in the Big Ten Conference with an average of 130.54 yards per game. He also finished second in the league with an average of 145.62 all-purpose yards per game in 2010. The third-leading active rusher in the Big Ten with 2,557 yards, the Illinois tailback also etched his name into the school and conference record books.
Leshoure established a new school season-record with his 1,697 yards on the ground. His seventeen scoring runs tied another Illini annual mark, while his 281 carries in 2010 are the second-highest total in school annals. He also ranks second with 1,893 all-purpose yards and set the Illini season-record with nine 100-yard rushing performances, tying for second all-time by going over the "century" mark twelve times during his career.
Leshoure just completed his third season at Illinois. He was that rare recruit from Champaign, Illinois who came to the university with some promise. The team hoped he might become the next big Illini running back after Rashard Mendenhall left after the 2007 season, but the youngster struggled to live up to the possibility.
He had a few big games during his first two years, such as the 150 yards he put together in a 38-13 upset of Michigan in 2009, but in others, he seemed to disappear. There also were some other problems, including the broken jaw he sustained during a fight with a team-mate that sidelined him in 2008. Now, his coach says, Leshoure's grown up.
"He's really kind of matured," Ron Zook said prior to his team facing then second-ranked Ohio State in 2010. "We saw it coming with him through spring football, this summer. He had a great offseason." The tailback is among only three players on the team that hail from Champaign, and the only one who regularly sees the field. Zook said he recruited Mikel as an impact player. "He's got the ability, we felt like, to be a big-time back," Zook said.
Leshoure says the change in his performance is more than just his own maturity. He credited new offensive coordinator Paul Petrino. Petrino, the brother of Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino, came to Illinois in the 2010 offseason, and he talked often about his driving philosophy, something he boils down to "feed your studs."
But Zook has talked often since Mendenhall left about his preference for a group of backs. That was until Leshoure established himself as the dominant back, reeling off a school record nine 100-yard rushing performances that included an Illini game-record 330 yards vs. Northwestern and the Michigan clash, where he scored three times on the ground while catching two other balls for scores. "He kind of got a hot hand," Zook said. "He's running extremely well."
Leshoure says the increased workload meant a lot to him. "I love the play-calling and how coach Petrino counts on me to get the job done and be the workhorse," he said. "I feel like as long as we keep executing I can keep getting these hundred-yard games."
Leshoure has the confidence, too, of one of his predecessors, former Illini and NFL back Howard Griffith, who says there's no doubt about the junior as a featured running back. "I think he has the potential to be a really special back, but the offense has to feed the ball to him," Griffith said. "Once he becomes comfortable, and once the identity of what this offense is going to be emerges, then I think he'll be outstanding. I think he has a chance to play on Sundays."
Leshoure was a three-star prospect by both Rivals.com and Scout.com after his senior season at local Champaign Centennial High School. He was rated the tenth-best overall prospect in the state and the nation's 28th-best running back by Rivals. He was named
first-team All-State by the Champaign News-Gazette, earning special mention All-State honors by the Chicago Tribune in 2007. The Prep Star All-American was also a member of Scout.com's Midwest Hot 100 squad.
During his sophomore season, Leshoure rushed for over 1,400 yards. As a junior, he received All-Area, All-Conference and All-State first-team honors. That year, he powered his way for 2,474 yards, averaging 6.4 yards per carry, as he scored 29 touchdowns on the ground while picking up 192 yards and three more scores receiving in only ten games.
Leshoure played a shorter schedule as a senior due to injury issues, but still managed to collect 1,060 yards on 169 carries and score ten touchdowns. He would close out his Chargers career by 4,652 yards on 681 carries for an average of 6.8 yards, as he scored 52 rushing touchdowns.
A high school teammate of fellow Illini, Mike Locksley, Jr., it was Locksley's father, Mike Sr., who recruited Leshoure for Illinois. The tailback signed his letter of intent on November 6th, 2007, turning down scholarship offers from Boston College, Colorado, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Purdue and Wisconsin to attend Illinois. He enrolled in January, 2008, attending spring camp with the varsity.
In 2008, Leshoure played in nine games, starting vs. Indiana. He missed the final three contests after suffering a broken jaw in a fight, finishing his freshman season with 126 yards and a touchdown on 35 carries (2.6 ypc). He also made six catches for 66 yards.
Despite starting just three of eleven games as a sophomore, Leshoure was named All-Big Ten Conference honorable mention. He was suspended for the Illinois State clash for violating team rulers, but still went on to lead the squad with 734 yards and five touch-downs on 108 attempts (6.8 ypc). He was fifth on the team with 14 receptions for 177 yards (12.64 ypc), including two scores. He also recorded three solo tackles.
Leshoure garnered All-American second-team and All-Big Ten Conference first-team accolades in 2010. He ran for over 100 yards in each of his first four games and final five contests, breaking the school records with seventeen touchdowns and 1,697 yards on 281 carries (6.04 ypc). He added 196 yards and three more scores on 17 catches, setting another Illini annual mark with 122 points scored.
After the 2010 Texas Bowl, Leshoure returned to Centennial High School. The Champaign native said he chose to host a press conference at Centennial as a testament to his appreciation for education. The tailback told the media gathering on January 10th, 2011, that he would forgo his senior year of eligibility and had decided to enter the 2011 NFL Draft. He said his decision to enter the draft had the full support of his family and he plans to complete his degree in communications in the future.
"I believe I have accomplished everything I can at the college level and want to go after my dream: playing in the NFL," Leshoure said. He thanked the education he received at both Centennial and Illinois, the coaching staff, his teammates and his family for his successful college football career. "Without those guys," Leshoure said, "I would not be here today."
Illinois Head Coach Ron Zook said he is proud of Leshoure and happy with his decision to follow his dream. "I am extremely proud of how Mikel has matured as a young man and leader for our football team since his arrival at Illinois," Zook said. "He'll be remembered here as one of the greatest running backs in Illinois football history. We hope he has a long and successful NFL career."
Centennial coach Mike McDonnell spoke highly of Leshoure and his accomplishments, stating that Leshoure would be forever remembered in Champaign. "I am very proud of Mikel and what he has accomplished both here at Centennial High School and the University of Illinois," McDonnell said.
"There is no doubt in my mind that Mikel will do well in the NFL--he is an outstanding football player and a solid professional. And Mikel will always know that he will have the entire Centennial High School family cheering for him every step of the way. We wish him the best of luck and look forward to his success on Sunday afternoons."
Leshoure started 17-of-33 games at Illinois, carrying the ball 424 times for 2,557 yards (6.03 ypc) and 23 touchdowns…Caught 37 passes for 439 yards (11.86 ypc) and five scores…Registered 170 points and recorded four solo tackles…Tied Juice Williams (2006-09) for sixth place on the school career-record list with 2,557 yards rushing…His 1,697 yards on the ground in 2010 broke the previous Illini season-record of 1,681 yards by Rashard Mendenhall in 2007…Gained 330 yards rushing vs. Northwestern in 2010, topping the old school game-record of 315 by Robert Holcombe vs. Minnesota in 1996…They are the only Illini ball carriers to gain 300 yards rushing in a contest…His 23 touchdown runs tied the legendary Red Grange (1923-25) and Ty Douthard (1993-96) for seventh on the school career-record chart…His 17 scoring runs in 2010 tied the Illini annual record that Rashard Mendenhall first set in 2007…Ran for 100 yards in twelve contests, tying Jim Grabowski (1963-65) for second in school annals behind Robert Holcombe's 16 (1994-97)…Ran for over 100 yards nine times in 2010, surpassing Rashard Mendenhall's old school season-record of eight in 2007…Leshoure's 281 rushing attempts in 2010 are the second-highest season total by an Illinois player, surpassed by only Robert Holcombe (297 in 1997)…Generated 1,893 all-purpose yards in 2010, joining Rashard Mendenhall (1,999 in 2007) and Keith Jones (1,818 in 1988) as the only Illini players to gain over 1,800 all-purpose yards in a campaign…Exploded for a career-best 341 all-purpose yards vs. Northwestern in 2010, the most by a Big Ten player in a game since Ron Dayne of Wisconsin amassed 347 yards vs. Hawaii in 1996…His 341 all-purpose yards rank second on the school game-record chart behind Red Grange's 402 vs. Michigan in 1924…Set the Illini annual record with 122 points scored as a junior, topping the old mark of 114 points by Rashard Mendenhall in 2007…His 28 total touchdowns tied Robert Holcombe for fourth place on the Illinois career-record chart…His 20 total touchdowns in 2010 surpassed the old school season-record of 19 by Mendenhall in 2007…Recorded five total touchdowns (three rushing, two receiving) vs. Michigan in 2010, tying Red Grange (vs. Michigan in 1924) for second place on the Illini game-record chart behind Howard Griffith's eight touchdowns in the 1990 Southern Illinois
2010 seasonAll-American second-team selection by The NFL Draft Report and the Associated Press, earning third-team recognition from Rivals.com and honorable mention from Sports Illustrated…Was a consensus All-Big Ten Conference first-team pick, adding Big Ten Player of the Week honors three times and Walter Camp Football Foundation National Player of the Week accolades vs. Northwestern…Started all thirteen games, ranking second in the league and fifth in the nation with an average of 130.54 yards per game rushing…Finished 20th nationally and second in the conference with an average of 145.62 all-purpose yards per game…Carried 281 times (second-best season total in Illini annals) fort a school season-record 1,697 yards, as his seventeen touchdown runs tied another school annual mark…Third on the team with seventeen receptions for 196 yards (11.53 ypc) and three scores…His 20 total touchdowns and 122 points scored established a pair of school season-records…Also broke the Illini annual mark with nine 100-yard rushing performances…Generated 84 first-down carries, converting 14-of-26 third-down snaps and all seven of his fourth-down tries…On 264 non-touchdown runs, it took more than one defender to take him down 93 times (35.23%)…Gained at least ten yards on 43 carries, including sixteen for 20 yards or longer…Had crucial rushing attempts that led to 29 Illini touchdowns and on twelve other possessions that resulted in field goals…Carried for positive yardage 43 times inside the red zone, including 18 times on goal-line plays.
2010 game analysis
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Southern Illinois…The junior tailback scored twice on just 14 carries for 107 yards and caught his first pass for the season, a 3-yarder in a 35-3 triumph…LeShoure's touchdowns came on a 1-yard run late in the first quarter and an 8-yard burst with 2:48 left in the first half…His first touchdown was set up by a stiff Illini defensive stand that forced the Salukis' Austin Pucylowski to punt out of his end zone, giving Illini the ball at the SIU 36…On his next touchdown LeShoure showed part of the reason, in spite of Illinois coach Ron Zook's preseason talk about his preference to use a running back platoon, he's been the featured back so far, as he dragged three defenders into the end zone with him…In the post game press conference, he was asked about his expectations for himself: "I said before the season started that I want to be the go-to guy. The coaches know they can count on me and depend on me. If they need someone to get something going, I want to be that guy. The past two games, I've been blessed with 100 yards and I hope to keep it going."…On the offense: "This gets our confidence going. We executed things we've been coached. To go out there and do it shows us that we can do what we've worked so hard to accomplish."…Record Watch-Leshoure topped the career 1,000-yard rushing mark vs. SIU, as he finished the game with 1,087 yards for his career. He is the 36th Illini in school history to rush for 1,000 yards…The tail-back recorded his fifth career 100-yard game and third consecutive, dating back to the 2009 season finale vs. Fresno State…Leshoure Offensive Impact…The running back registered four first-down carries, converting 0-of-0 third-down snaps, as he had two runs for at least 10 yards, including one for 20 yards or longer and two goal-line attempts, as he had key runs to set up two touchdown drives…It took more than one defender to tackle him on six carries, as the team generated 168 yards with three touchdowns on 43 rushing attempts (3.91 yards per carry).
Northern Illinois...Leshoure continued to attack the "century mark" with 180 yards and a score on 24 attempts, as he also had a 6-yard grab in a 28-22 decision…The Illini offense then came back to life behind Leshoure and QB Nathan Scheelhaase. Illinois got the ball at its own 27 after NIU's punt. Leshoure picked up 33 yards on two big carries and Scheelhaase added 20 on two keepers to drive Illinois to the Huskies' 21-yard line. The Illini kept that scoring drive alive a fourth-&-1 play at their own 46 with just under five minutes to play. Instead of punting, Illinois ran Leshoure between the right guard and tackle and got the yard. The tailback finished off the drive three minutes later with a 29-yard touchdown run and a 28-19 lead…In the post game press conference, QB Nathan Scheelhaase talked about the Illini converting the fourth-&-one play in the final drive:
"I knew we had plays. We had plays that we worked on all week for various fourth-and-one situations. I knew Coach Petrino had the plays ready in his arsenal. It was really up to Coach Zook. I was really happy that he was confident enough in us to get that first down. With the way Mikel (Leshoure) was playing, I felt good about that call and getting that first down. I felt like we had some good momentum on that drive and really could get a first down out of it. That was a huge first down and a huge play by him and great blocking up front to give him enough of a crease to get that extra yard."…Leshoure was asked his thoughts on the team in general and said, "We thought in camp we were a good team. We loved the offense and we thought that Coach Petrino would put us in places where we could win if we did our job. We felt the confidence a while ago, but now coming out and doing it in front of our opponents instead of our own defense has given us even more confidence to go out and do our job. I think we can compete with the best."…On how it felt to have a third good game in a row, he noted, "Things feel good. I love the play calling and how Coach Petrino counts on me to get the job done and be the workhorse. I feel like as long as we can keep executing I can keep getting these hundred yard games."…Record Watch-Leshoure recorded his third-straight 100-yard rushing game of the season. It was his fourth consecutive 100-yard game overall, dating back to the 2009 season finale vs. Fresno State. He is the first Illini with 100 yards rushing in four straight games since Robert Holcombe in 1997…His 180 yards were just four shy of his career best…He did set a career high with 24 carries, topping the 21 rushes he had last year vs. Michigan…With Leshoure and Scheelhaase both eclipsing 100 yards on the ground, it marked the first time Illinoois had two 100-yard rushers in a game since Leshoure and Jason Ford accomplished the feat in 2009 vs. Michigan (10/31)…Leshoure Offensive Impact…The running back registered nine first-down carries, converting 3-of-3 third-down snaps and 1-of-1 fourth-down plays…He had five runs for at least 10 yards, including one for 20 yards or longer and one attempt inside the red zone, as he had key runs to set up three touch-down drives and on two possessions that resulted in field goals…It took more than one defender to tackle him on seven carries, as the team generated 319 yards with three touch-downs on 49 rushing attempts (6.51 yards per carry).
Ohio State…The Buckeyes held the Illini tailback to under 100 yards for the first time in 2010, as Leshoure finished with 19 carries for 80 yards…The junior's two red zone carries placed the ball at the OSU 3-yard line, as Leshoure then led the charge around left guard with QB Nathan Scheelhaase following for a 3-yard touchdown that ended the Illini's game-opening 55-yard, 9-play series…His 26-yard scamper in the fourth quarter set up an Illinois 30-yard field goal…Talking to the media after the game, Leshoure was asked about the team's opportunities in the second half and he said, "Things started opening up towards the end of the game. The problem was that we were beating ourselves. If we could have eliminated some of those penalties early in the drives, I think we could have put more points on the board. It wasn't about them beating or stopping us, we just have to go out and have security in our jobs first."…On showing that Illinois can play with top teams, he replied, "We believed before this game that we could play with the best. It showed today. We definitely felt like that there could have been a way we could have won that. I have a lot of confidence, especially in our defense, those guys came out and played their butts off and gave the offense plenty of opportunities. It's definitely a confidence booster going into next week. We know what we can do, and we plan on winning."…Record Watch-Leshoure increased his rushing yardage total at Illinois to 1,338 yards, as is the 24th player in school history to surpass 1,300 career yards rushing, moving up three spots from his 27th-place ranking on the Illini all-time rushing list…Leshoure Offensive Impact…The running back registered two first-down carries, converting 0-of-0 third-down snaps…He had one run for at least 20 yards and three attempts inside the red zone, including two on goal-line plays, as he had key runs to set up one touchdown drive and on one possession that resulted in a field goal…It took more than one defender to tackle him on six carries, as the team generated 119 yards with one touchdown on 36 rushing attempts (3.31 yards per carry).
Penn State…Leshoure continued to punish opposing defensive lines, as he picked up 119 yards on 27 carries and had a season-long 32-yard reception…The tailback rushed for 21 yards on six carries to get the ball deep into PSU territory, where QB Nathan Scheelhaase finished off that 11-play, 80-yard series with an 18-yard scoring strike to A.J. Jenkins…His third-&-5 grab for a 32-yard catch led to an Illinois 37-yard field goal in the fourth frame… Record Watch-Leshoure had a career-high 27 carries vs. the Nittany Lions…This was his seventh career 100+ rushing game, including four in five contests in 2010…He increased his career yardage total to 1,457, moving up two spots to 22nd on the UI all-time rushing list…Leshoure Offensive Impact…The running back registered six first-down carries, converting 1-of-3 third-down snaps and 1-of-1 fourth-down plays…He had two run for at least 10 yards, as he had key runs to set up one touchdown drive and on two possessions that resulted in field goals…It took more than one defender to tackle him on 14 carries, as the team generated 282 yards with no touchdowns on 54 rushing attempts (5.22 yards per carry).
Michigan…Leshoure began a string of five consecutive 100-yard rushing performances to close out his college career, running 24 times for 123 yards and three touchdowns while totaling 52 yards on two receptions that both resulted in scores in a tough 67-65 loss…The tailback did not find the end zone until the fourth quarter, but would finish with a scoring flurry, as he first caught a 27-yard bubble screen for a touchdown that ended an 8-play, 73-yard drive…His 1-yard scoring plunge in the fourth quarter forced the game into overtime, where he took a fourth-&-1 handoff for another 1-yard touchdown…Nathan Scheelhaase hit the tailback with a 25-yard touchdown pass on the next overtime frame…On the Illini's final possession, Leshoure powered his way into the end zone for a 3-yard score, but Scheelhaase missed on the two-point conversion pass and the Illini went down in defeat… Record Watch-Leshoure rushed for 120 yards and Nathan Scheelhaase recorded 101 yards on 21 carries, marking the second time this year that two Illini have rushed for over 100 yards in a game…The tailback recorded his fifth 100-yard game in 2010 and eighth in his career, moving him up to fourth on the school season-record list and seventh on the career list… He also moved up to 17th on the career rushing list, finishing the day with 1,760 yards…Leshoure ended the day with a career-high five touchdowns, three rushing and two receiving...Leshoure Offensive Impact…The running back registered nine first-down carries, converting 3-of-3 third-down snaps and 1-of-1 fourth-down plays…He had five runs for at least 10 yards, including one for 20 yards or longer, as he added five attempts inside the red zone, including two on goal-line plays…He had key runs to set up four touchdown drives and on one possession that resulted in a field goal…It took more than one defender to tackle him on five carries, as the team generated 315 yards with five touchdowns on 61 rushing attempts (5.16 yards per carry).
Mikel Leshoure ... Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Minnesota…Leshoure found the end zone twice, giving him ten touchdowns during his last three games, as he piled up 141 yards on 18 carries, adding a 10-yard catch vs. the Gophers…The tail-back converted a fourth-&-1 run into a 5-yard first down and then capped that 12-play, 80-yard third quarter possession with a 14-yard scoring scamper… With 8:14 left in the game, he burst up the middle of the field, breaking four tackles en route to a 55-yard touchdown jaunt…Talking to the media after the game about the Illini's 38-24 loss, the junior observed, "It was a tough loss. We didn't execute to our full potential early in the game. We let those guys hang around. We kept them in the game, gave them a boost of confidence. We were into it coming into the game. Offensively we came out and struck first. We got off to a good start, but the energy didn't seem like how it has been in the past. I don't know what the problem was. We just didn't play like we usually have."… On where the team goes from here, he said, "We definitely can't play tight, that's one thing we can't do. I felt like we didn't do that in the second half. We just have to keep focused and keep working, starting Sunday. Get in, watch the film, and take care of our bodies. We got to get after it Monday. The intensity has to be good in practice all week."…Record Watch-The junior's 141 rushing yards improved his season total to 1,401 yards, as his 1,901 yards rank 19th on the school career-record chart…Leshoure had his sixth 100-yard rushing game of the season, tied for the second-most in school history with Jim Grabowski (1965) and J.C. Caroline (1953). He also has nine 100-yard games in his career, tied for fourth-most with Pierre Thomas (2003-06), Rich Johnson (1966-68) and John Karras (1949-51)…His two touchdowns gave him 14 total scores for the season and ten in the last three games. The 14 scores rank third all-time on the Illinois season touchdown list…Leshoure Offensive Impact…The running back registered seven first-down carries, converting 2-of-2 third-down snaps and 1-of-1 fourth-down plays…He had three runs for at least 10 yards, including one for 20 yards or longer, as he added two attempts inside the red zone…He had key runs to set up two touchdown drives…It took more than one defender to tackle him on six carries, as the team generated 201 yards with three touch-downs on 43 rushing attempts (4.67 yards per carry).
Northwestern…The junior exploded for a career-high 330 yards, setting a school game-record, on 33 attempts, finding the end zone twice while also catching one pass for 11 yards…Leshoure was simply spectacular, doing a good impression of Gale Sayers in the Bear's old home, scoring on runs of four and one-yard on the first two possessions, plus a 70-yarder that set up another scoring drive, as Leshoure ran for 156 yards in the first quarter alone…His 4-yard touchdown was set up by his 30 and 32-yard gains on back-to-back carries…His 70-yard gain set up a 5-yard scoring run by backup tailback Jacob Ford to give the Illini a 21-7 first quarter lead…Leshoure added a 39-yard run to set up a 39-yard Illini field goal as time expired in the first half…He caught a pass for 11 yards and then converted a fourth-&-1 carry into a first down to set up a 10-yard scoring strike from Nathan Scheelhaase to A.J. Jenkins at the start of the second half…The junior was later tackled at the NU 8 after a 62-yard scamper and two plays later, Ford punched the ball into the end zone for a fourth quarter 2-yard touchdown…Record Watch-Leshoure's 330 yards broke the previous school game-record of 315 yards by Robert Holcombe vs. Minnesota in 1996. His 330 yards were the most by a major college ball carrier in a game since Navy's Shun White had 348 yards on August 30th, 2008 vs. Towson and is the fifth-most yards in a game in Big Ten Conference history, and the fourth-most in a league game…The tailback improved to 1,371 yards for the season, second-best in school history (Rashard Mendenhall's 1,681 yards in 2007) and 2,231 yards in his career, tenth-best on the Illini all-time record list…Leshoure scored two rushing touchdowns in the first 4:54 of the game, pushing him past Howard Griffith into second on the Illinois record list for season touch-downs scored with 16. Rashard Mendenhall holds the record with 19…Leshoure is third on the school season-record rushing touchdowns list behind only Mendenhall (17) and Griffith (15)….The tailback's 70-yard run in the first quarter was Illinois' longest play this year, topping his own 55-yard scamper the previous game vs. Minnesota. He also added a 62-yard burst in the fourth quarter to set up Jason Ford's two-yard touchdown run…Ford also scored three times vs. Northwestern, making it the first time the Illini had two rushers with at least two touchdowns in a game since Rashard Mendenhall and Juice Williams accomplished the feat vs. Northwestern on November 17th, 2007…Leshoure Offensive Impact…The running back registered 14 first-down carries, converting 1-of-3 third-down snaps and 1-of-1 fourth-down plays…He had seven runs for at least 10 yards, including five for 20 yards or longer, as he added 12 attempts inside the red zone, including five on goal-line plays…He had key runs to set up five touchdown drives and on two possessions that resulted in field goals…It took more than one defender to tackle him on 12 carries, as the team generated 519 yards with five touchdowns on 70 rushing attempts (7.41 yards per carry).
Fresno State…Leshoure continued his torrid pace, as he amassed 148 yards on 19 carries, averaging 7.79 yards per attempt…The tailback's 35-yard touchdown run in the second quarter helped the Illini cut the deficit to 19-10 in an eventual 25-23 loss…Record Watch Leshoure and QB Nathan Scheelhaase both rushed for over 100 yards. It was time this season that the duo have both run for over 100 yards in the same game (also vs. NIU, Michigan) and the first time in school history that Illinois has had three 100-yard rushing duos in the same season…The junior topped the 1,500-yard mark for the season with his 142 yards, becoming only the second player in Illinois history to gain more than 1,500 rushing yards in a season. His 1,513 yards are 170 yards short of Rashard Mendenhall's season-record of 1,681…The tailback increased his rushing touchdowns total to 14 and his overall scores to 17, ranking third and second, respectively, on the UI season-record lists…Leshoure's 142-yard performance gives him eight 100-yard games this season, tying Rashard Mendenhall's school record. He now has 11 career 100-yard games, third most in school history…Leshoure Offensive Impact…The running back registered seven first-down carries, converting 0-of-1 third-down snaps and 1-of-1 fourth-down plays…He had four runs for at least 10 yards, including two for 20 yards or longer, as he added two attempts inside the red zone…He had key runs to set up two touchdown drives…It took more than one defender to tackle him on eight carries, as the team generated 318 yards with two touchdowns on 50 rushing attempts (6.36 yards per carry).
Baylor (Texas Bowl)…Leshoure closed out his career with 29 carries for 187 yards and three touchdowns, as he also caught three passes for 21 yards and ran for a two-point conversion in a 38-14 victory, marking the first time the Illini won a bowl game since 1999…The tailback had a 5-yard scoring run in the second quarter, capping an 87-yard drive…He added a 13-yard touchdown jaunt in the third quarter and another 5-yard touch-down in the fourth period, in addition to running for a two-point conversion…Record Watch-Leshoure finished the 2010 season with a bang, recording 205 all-purpose yards. In Illinois' last five games, he racked up 1,011 all-purpose yards and 13 touchdowns. He finished second on Illinois' season all-purpose yardage record list with 1,893 yards, behind only Rashard Mendenhall's 1,999 yards in 2007…His 29 carries vs. the Bears gave him 281 for the season, second-most in school history behind Robert Holcombe's 294 rushes in 1997…He also topped the Illinois records for rushing yardage in a season (1,697 yards), the season scoring record (122), most total touchdowns in a season (20), most 100-yard rushing games in a season (9) and consecutive 100-yard rushing games (5)…He also tied Rashard Mendenhall's school record for season rushing touchdowns with 17…He closed out his career with 2,557 yards rushing, tying former Illini Juice Williams for sixth on the career rushing list… Leshoure Offensive Impact…The running back registered 11 first-down carries, converting 0-of-2 third-down snaps…He had six runs for at least 10 yards, including one for 20 yards or longer, as he added six attempts inside the red zone, including three on goal-line plays…He had key runs to set up four touchdown drives and on one possession that resulted in a field goal…It took more than one defender to tackle him on nine carries, as the team generated 291 yards with four touchdowns on 50 rushing attempts (5.82 yards per carry).
Other Notable Performances…Leshoure picked up 83 yards on 23 carries and caught three passes for 10 yards vs. Michigan State…Rushed 16 times for 77 yards and a 7-yard score in a 43-13 defeat of Indiana…Was held to 23 yards on 15 attempts, but scored twice on 1-yard runs and had another score on a 20-yard grab, finishing with two receptions for 46 yards vs. Purdue.
All-Big Ten Conference honorable mention…Played in eleven games, starting three contests…Was suspended for a violation of team rules vs. Southern Illinois…Finished first on the team with 108 carries for 734 yards (6.80 ypc) and five touchdowns…Placed fifth on the squad with fourteen receptions for 17796 yards (12.64 ypc) and a pair of touchdowns, as he scored 42 points…Recorded three solo tackles – one vs. Missouri and two in the Ohio State clash…His average of 66.73 yards per game rushing ranked sixth in the Big Ten and 77th nationally.
2009 game highlights
Missouri…Leshoure began his sophomore season with 38 yards on ten carries and 41 yards on three catches…He capped a fourth quarter 15-play, 79-yard drive with a 1-yard scoring plunge.
Michigan State…The sophomore was limited to three attempts for 22 yards, but he scored on a 41-yard reception and a a 3-yard carry.
Purdue…For the first time in his Illini career, Leshoure gained over 100 yards rushing, totaling 122 yards on 15 attempts that included a 65-yard scamper.
Michigan…The tailback followed with 150 yards on 21 rushes, scoring on a 70-yard burst midway through the third quarter.
Fresno State…Leshoure closed out the season with eleven attempts for 184 yards and a pair of touchdowns, scoring on a third quarter 61-yard scamper and again in the final period on a 19-yard run that ended a 6-play, 79-yard possession, earning Big Ten Player of the Week honors.
Other Notable Performances…Leshoure picked up 78 yards on 12 carries and 26 yards on three catches in the Indiana clash…Rushed 13 times for 76 yards vs. Northwestern…Was held to 25 yards on four runs and caught a 7-yard pass vs. Ohio State.
Played in nine games and started at tailback vs. Indiana as a true-freshman...Missed the team's final three games of the season vs. Western Michigan, Ohio State and North-western after suffering a broken jaw in a fight…Ranked fourth on the team with 126 yards on 35 carries (3.60 ypc) that included one touchdown…Added 66 yards on six receptions (11.0 ypc).
2008 game highlights
Rushed five times for 11 yards vs. Iowa, also catching a career-high three passes for 31 yards...Had the first rushing touchdown of his career at Michigan on a 1-yard plunge…
Carried for 23 yards on three attempts at Penn State, as he also made two catches for 26 yards...Rushed eight times for 21 yards vs. Louisiana-Lafayette...Had a season-high 49 yards on ten attempts vs. Eastern Illinois.
2008 Season…Missed the Western Michigan (11/08), Ohio State (11/15) and Northwestern (11/22) games after he suffered a broken jaw during a fight with teammate Jeff Cumberland. "Anything that happens like that is not good. But it's not always as bad as it sounds, either. We're going to deal with it within our house." Illinois coach Ron Zook discussing Mikel Leshoure's broken in the Daily Herald.
Campus agility tests
4.62 in the 40-yard dash…1.64 10-yard dash…2.71 20-yard dash…4.47 20-yard shuttle…
11.88 60-yard shuttle…7.12 three-cone drill…38-inch vertical jump…9'11" broad jump… Bench pressed 225 pounds 23 times.
Attended Centennial (Champaign, Ill.) High School, playing football for head coach Mike McDonnell…Received a three-star prospect rating from both Rivals.com and Scout.com after his senior season…Rated the tenth-best overall prospect in the state and the nation's 28th-best running back by Rivals…Named first-team All-State by the Champaign News-Gazette, earning special mention All-State honors by the Chicago Tribune in 2007…The Prep Star All-American was also a member of Scout.com's Midwest Hot 100 squad…
During his sophomore season, Leshoure rushed for over 1,400 yards…As a junior, he received All-Area, All-Conference and All-State first-team honors…That year, he powered his way for 2,474 yards, averaging 6.4 yards per carry, as he scored 29 touchdowns on the ground while picking up 192 yards and three more scores receiving in only ten games…
Played a shortened schedule as a senior due to injury issues, but still managed to collect 1,060 yards on 169 carries and score ten touchdowns…Closed out his Chargers career by 4,652 yards on 681 carries for an average of 6.8 yards, as he scored 52 rushing touchdowns.
Communications major…Son of Jacqueline Frazier-Jones...Born 3/30/90...Resides in Champaign, Illinois.
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