Benn to leave Illini for draft

Illinois wide receiver Arrelious Benn will forgo his senior season and enter the NFL draft.

"This is a dream for me. I've proven myself on the college level and I've proven I can make plays," Benn said Wednesday.

Benn is the third-ranked receiver by Todd McShay of Scouts Inc., behind Oklahoma State's Dez Bryant and Notre Dame's Golden Tate. Benn is ranked No. 33 overall on Scouts' list of draft prospects.

"I can do returns, but I also consider myself a pure receiver. I've got the size advantage and I have a real hunger to prove myself," Benn said.

Draft expert and former Dallas Cowboys general manager Gil Brandt believes Benn will be a second-round pick. Brandt said Benn faces a tough adjustment to pro-level coverage, and said that this season he didn't look like the same receiver who rolled up more than 1,700 yards in his first two years in college.

"I think if what you know about him [is from] before this year, he has first-round potential," Brandt said. "But people draft on what they see, not on what they think they're going to see."

Illinois coach Ron Zook praised Benn for his character and representing the university well.

"He will be greatly missed, not just because of his abilities on the field but because of what he brought to the team in work ethic and leadership," Zook, who was out of town, said in a printed statement.

Benn had 38 catches for 490 yards and two touchdowns this season and 159 catches for 2,221 yards and seven touchdowns for his career.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report