Four Illini Seniors Headed to All-Star Games

Terry Hawthorne
Terry Hawthorne

Jan. 18, 2013

Champaign, Ill. - Four Fighting Illini seniors will participate in all-star games over the next two weekends, giving them a chance to showcase their skills for NFL scouts. Defensive end Michael Buchanan and offensive lineman Hugh Thornton are headed to the Senior Bowl (1/26), defensive back Terry Hawthorne will play in the East-West Shrine Game (1/19), and defensive back Justin Green will take part in the Raycom College Football All-Star Classic (1/19). A fifth Illini, center Graham Pocic, accepted an invitation to the Shrine game, but won't be able to play due to injury.

Raycom College Football All-Star Classic // Jan. 19 at 2 p.m. CT // Montgomery, Ala. // CBS Sports Network
Green is on the Stripes roster for the All-Star Classic, which takes place on Sat., Jan. 19, at 2 p.m. CT at the Cramton Bowl in Montgomery, Ala. The Raycom College Football All-Star Classic is a week-long event that features elite college football seniors participating in NFL-formatted practices that are open to the public. Former NFL head coaches Jim Bates (Stars) and Dan Reeves (Stripes) will coach the game, which will be televised live on CBS Sports Network.

Green was a three-year starter at cornerback for the Illini after seeing playing time at running back during his true-freshman season in 2009. A former high school 100m dash state champion, Green was annually known as one of the fastest players on the team and in the Big Ten. He made 29 career starts at corner, totaling 128 tackles and 13 passes defended. He also scored twice as a rusher in 2009 and occasionally returned kicks for the Orange and Blue.

East-West Shrine Game // Jan. 19 at 3 p.m. CT // St. Petersburg, Fla. // NFL Network
Hawthorne will suit up for the West squad in the Shrine Game, which is on Jan. 19 at 3 p.m. CT at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg Fla. The East-West Shrine Game is the longest-running all-star college football game, showcasing the next generation of NFL greats and serving as a benefit event for Shriners Hospitals for Children. Former NFL coaches Leeman Bennett (West) and Jerry Glanville (East) will serve as this year's coaches. The game will be televised live by the NFL Network.

Hawthorne was a two-time honorable mention All-Big Ten honoree for the Fighting Illini, totaling 163 tackles, 22 passes defended and six interceptions, including two pick-sixes, during his UI career. He had 44 tackles, 4.0 TFLs, six passes defended, one interception and one sack in 2012. In 2011, he was named Defensive MVP of the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl after scoring the go-ahead touchdown in the third quarter of Illinois' 20-14 win over UCLA. Hawthorne also returned punts and kicks for the Illini, including an Illinois season-long 45-yard kick return at Ohio State this year.

Senior Bowl // Jan. 26 at 3 p.m. CT // Mobile, Ala. // NFL Network
Buchanan and Thornton will both play for the North team in the Senior Bowl, which takes place on Saturday, Jan. 26, at 3 p.m. CT at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala. The Senior Bowl is football's premier pre-draft event, annually featuring top NFL draft prospects on teams representing the North and South that are coached by the entire coaching staffs of two National Football League teams. This year, Jim Schwartz and the Detroit Lions staff will coach the South, while Dennis Allen and the Oakland Raiders staff will coach the North. The game will be televised live by the NFL Network.

Buchanan was a two-time second-team All-Big Ten performer in 2011 and 2012. He led the team in sacks this season with 4.5 and also had 57 tackles, 7.0 TFLs, five PBUs, five hurries, one interception and one forced fumble. For his career, he racked up 161 tackles, 26.0 TFLs, 14.0 sacks and 10 passes defended.

Thornton was a four-year starter on the Illinois offensive line, playing both guard and tackle positions throughout his career. He made 35 career starts and was a second-team All-Big Ten honoree as a senior. In 2010, he helped pave the way for the Big Ten's top rushing offense (241.1 ypg).