Each week the Illini in the NFL update will provide coverage on how former Fighting Illini football players fared during the previous week. In week 15, Michael Hoomanawanui made the highlight reel with a one-handed touchdown grab and Rashard Mendenhall found the end-zone twice.
Michael Hoomanawanui, TE, New England Patriots - Hoomanawanui grabbed some media attention this past weekend when he reeled in a nifty one-handed grab in the endzone for a 13-yard touchdown. Hoomanawanui will continue to see added snaps down the stretch with Rob Gronkowski out for the season.
Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Arizona Cardinals - Mendenhall took 31 of the
Cardinals' 68 offensive snaps during Sunday's overtime victory in Tennessee.
Mendenhall took a season high 21 carries which he turned into 69 yards and two
touchdowns, giving him eight on the season. Here's a video of Mendenhall punching it in on the one yard line.
Jeff Allen, OT, Jon Asamoah, OG, Kansas City Chiefs - Allen started in his 13th game and Asamoah saw time in the Chiefs 56-31 win over Oakland. The offensive line allowed just two sacks in the game and provided Alex Smith plenty of time to rack up 306 yards through the air. Here's a great read from the Kanas City Star on Jeff Allen.
Pierre Thomas, RB, New Orleans Saints - Thomas gained 21 yards on eight carries and another 62 yards on seven receptions in Sunday's loss against the Rams, including this 28-yard reception. Thomas currently ranks first in the NFL among running backs with 71 receptions.
Corey Liuget, DE, San Diego Chargers - Started in his 14th straight game for the Chargers where he picked up one tackle to bring his season total to 27. Chargest lost to the Broncos, 27-20.
Alan Ball, CB, Jacksonville Jaguars - Ball started in 13th game of the season and tallied his third straight multi-tackle game, picking up three on the day. Jaguars lost 27-20 to the Bills.
Whitney Mercilus, DE, Houston Texans - Started his 14th game of this season and recorded two stops for the second straight week. Mercilus now has 44 tackles on the year.
David Diehl, OG, New York Giants - Diehl started in his 10th straight game for the Giants, but New York was shutout 23-0 by the Seahawks.
Vontae Davis, CB, Indianapolis Colts - Davis tacked on three more tackles to his season resume while also recording his 10th pass deflection on the year.
Akeem Spence, DT, Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Spence tallied three tackles in the Bucs 33-14 loss to the 49ers. The game marked the third time Spence has collected three or more tackles in a game this season.
Steve Weatherford, P, New York Giants - Weatherford punted the ball a staggering eight times, good for a 47.5 yard average. His long of the day went 57 yards and Weatherford was able to pin the Seahawks down inside their own 20-yard line twice.
AJ Jenkins, WR, Kansas City Chiefs - Found his way on the stat sheet, just not in receptions. Jenkins recorded his first rush attempt of his career, gaining five yards on the ground.
Tony Pashos, OL, Oakland Raiders - Started in his 10th game of the season with the Raiders. Oakland did not surrender any sacks and boosted the running game to gain 130 yards on the ground.
Hugh Thornton, OL, Indianapolis Colts - After missing last week due to neck injury, Thornton was back in the starting lineup for the playoff bound Colts. Indy accumulated 152 rushing yards while quarterback Andrew Luck was sacked just once.
Tavon Wilson, FS, New England Patriots - Wilson played in his 11th game of the season but recorded no statistics in the Patriots 24-20 loss to the Miami Dolphins.
Glenn Foster, DL, New Orleans Saints - Saw some playing time for the first time in three weeks, but did not record any stats.
Michael Buchanan, DE, New England Patriots - Inactive
Martez Wilson, LB, Dallas Cowboys - Inactive
Mikel Leshoure, RB, Detroit Lions - Inactive
Former Illini on Injured Reserve
Arrelious Benn, WR, Philadelphia Eagles - Out for season with torn left ACL suffered during training camp.
Kelvin Hayden, CB, Chicago Bears - Out for season with a torn left hamstring suffered in early August.
Graham Pocic, OL, St. Louis Rams - Out for season is injury suffered during training camp.
Former Illini on NFL Practice Squads
Justin Green, DB, New England Patriots
Jack Cornell, OL, Oakland Raiders
Justin Staples, DE, Cleveland Browns