Terry Hawthorne, CB, Illinois
Could be a late round steal.
Illinois' top playmaker isn't on offense or defense, he's on both. Hawthorne, who was an All-Big Ten Honorable Mention pick at cornerback last season, will also see some reps on offense as the Illini attempt to replace first round receiver A.J. Jenkins and his 90 catches from last season.
While NFL scouts will love his willingness to play on both sides of the ball, they'll be looking at him mainly as a cornerback for the next level, a cornerback who has top-50 potential.
An Illinois-native, Hawthorne was a four-star CB/WR recruit out of a high school, choosing the Illini over Oklahoma, Missouri and a host of other scholarship offers.
He moved full-time to defense as a true freshman in 2009 (five starts) and recorded 30 tackles and his first interception, which he also returned for a score. Hawthorne battled an injury as a sophomore and made only one start, but returned last season as a junior and started 11 games at cornerback, finishing with 60 tackles, 5.0 tackles for loss, eight pass break-ups and a team-best three interceptions (one returned for a touchdown in the bowl game).
Hawthorne doesn't have great size, but his speed and ballhawking ability is top-shelf, flashing the awareness and natural feel teams seek in defensive backs. In April, former Illinois' defensive back Tavon Wilson was a surprise second round pick by the New England Patriots. And just like Wilson, Hawthorne isn't a well-known name, but don't be shocked when he's an early round draft pick.