Every list of college juniors who could jump to the NFL after this season includes Illinois wide receiver Arrelious Benn, who still projects well to the next level despite a disappointing 2009 campaign.
Benn hasn't talked much about the NFL, saying he's undecided on his future, yet his departure seems like a foregone conclusion to some. But if it were up to Benn's mother, Denise, her son would be back at Illinois for his senior season.
"I would love to see him stay," Denise Benn told The (Champaign) News-Gazette. "I've not been getting any bothersome calls from anyone, and I appreciate that. It all keeps me grounded to the very real possibility of him staying."
ESPN's Mel Kiper ranks Benn as the No. 2 junior prospect at wide receiver, behind Dez Bryant, even though Benn's numbers have declined this fall. Benn leads Illinois with 36 receptions, but he has only one receiving touchdown.
There are some important factors Benn must consider if he wants to return to Illinois. Quarterback Juice Williams, a four-year starter at quarterback, will be gone, and there will be a competition between Jacob Charest, Nathan Scheelhaase and possibly Eddie McGee for the top job.
Illinois also is expected to make some coaching changes after the season, and if offensive coordinator Mike Schultz goes, Benn will be playing in a new system.
My guess is Benn turns pro, but his mother's comments are interesting.