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Illinois RB Chase Brown to miss bowl game, enter NFL draft | Main stories


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Illinois running back Chase Brown has decided to skip the ReliaQuest Bowl and enter the NFL draft.

Brown has rushed for 1,643 yards this season, which ranks first among Power Five conferences. He announced his plans for the future on Twitter on Friday.

Illinois (8-4) is scheduled to play No. 24 Mississippi State (8-4) on Jan. 2 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., in a Big Ten-Southeastern Conference matchup.

“Despite the ups and downs, my time at Illinois has been the best experience of my life,” said Brown, a junior who began his college career at Western Michigan in 2018. “I got a degree, became an athlete, and made lifelong connections.”

Brown would finish his career as Illinois’ second-leading rusher with 3,558 yards, behind only Robert Holcomb (4,105 yards from 1994-97). His rushing yards this season are third all-time at the school behind Mikel Leshur (1,697 in 2010) and Rashard Mendenhall (1,681 yards in 2007). He set a school single-season rushing record this year with 11 100-yard games.

Brown thanked his teammates for pushing him and his coaches for believing in him. He also thanked the Illinois State fans.

“Your dedication, passion and love for this team is greatly appreciated. It was an honor and an unforgettable experience playing for all of you,” he wrote. “I will always bleed orange and blue.”


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