2012 NFL Draft Capsule: DE Whitney Mercilus

732916.png

2012 NFL Draft Capsule: DE Whitney Mercilus

Whitney Mercilus (DE), Illinois
6-4 265 lbs.

2011 Stats:
57 tackles, 22.5 TFL, 16 sacks, 9 FF

Projection:
Mid-to-late first round

Strengths:
Mercilus possesses a strong frame with good length and uses his hands to keep himself clean on contact. He displays an impressive wingspan and can overwhelm on contact using natural power on his leg to drive through contact. Showcases a solid spin move once he gets to the edge and can work his way back inside if the tackle is over playing toward the edge. (National Football Post)

Weaknesses:
One major concern for Mercilus is that he has only had one year of solid production, with only two total sacks going into his junior season. He struggles with pad level through contact and struggles to disengage. He too often allows ball carriers to run right by him on the edge when unblocked and is easily pushed past the pocket. (National Football Post)

Fit for the Bears:
The Bears are known to have interest in Mercilus. Lovie Smith and Rod Marinelli traveled to Champaign to put him through a workout last month. After losing out on Mario Williams in free agency, Chicago has made it a priority to improve their pass-rush in the draft. The standout defensive end from Illinois is a natural pass rusher and learning from a future Hall of Famer like Julius Peppers could help ease his transition into the NFL. Mercilus has drawn comparisons to Giants' sack machine Jason Pierre-Paul. If he were to reach that level, it would be a home run pick for Phil Emery and the Bears.

DePaul basketball program on the rise after landing 5-star recruit Tyger Campbell

tyger-campbell-depaul-slide-photo.png
AP

DePaul basketball program on the rise after landing 5-star recruit Tyger Campbell

DePaul hoops received a huge boost this week as five-star recruit Tyger Campbell committed to the university.

The elite point guard recruit out of La Lumiere, will join the Class of 2018, choosing DePaul over schools like Michigan State, Illinois and Memphis.

"I like DePaul and honestly my coach (Shane Heirman) just went there and we have a great connection and he's always had my back," Campbell told Scout.com. "I like [DePaul] coach Dave Leitao, too. I like his program and he's an intelligent guy.

"Mainly what I like about the school is I want to help bring it back. I love Chicago; it's a great city. I want to bring the city a college back to cheer for."

Campbell also said the Blue Demons' new Wintrust Arena at McCormick Place Event Center, which is slated to open this fall, is a big draw for him.

The Blue Demons are a combined 18-45 the last two seasons and hasven't had a winning season since 2006-07 when they went 20-14 and made the NIT Quarterfinals.

The program last made the NCAA Tournament in 2003-04 during Leitao's first stint as the team's head coach.

Northern Illinois adds running back Fotis Kokosioulis

niu.jpg
USA TODAY

Northern Illinois adds running back Fotis Kokosioulis

Northern Illinois University added it's fourth known verbal commitment today in its growing Class of 2018.

Maine South junior running back Fotis Kokosioulis (5-foot-8, 165 pounds) added an offer from the Huskies on Tuesday after making a spring practice visit, and today he gave head coach Rod Carey his verbal commitment.

"I chose NIU because it's been a school that I've liked for awhile now," Kokosioulis said moments ago. "I like the facilities at NIU, the stadium and everything else they have to offer. I also really like all the coaches at NIU. I felt that even if I got more offers I would've still chose NIU over other schools. I know that there are bigger school and programs but I feel that I just fit in well at NIU, so I committed."

Kokosioulis, who was an All-State performer for the Class 8A state champion Maine South Hawks in 2016, is now the fourth known in-state verbal commitment for Rod Carey and the Huskies and the fifth known commitment overall. Kokosioulis joins Andrew defensive end Mike DeHaan, Plainfield East defensive end Jack Sullivan and Danville tight end Julian Pearl in the NIU Huskies in-state Class of 2018.