Illinois' Chase Brown entering NFL draft; led Power 5 in rushing

ByBlake Baumgartner ESPN logo
Friday, December 23, 2022

Illinois junior running back Chase Brown is entering the 2023 NFL draft and will not play in the ReliaQuest Bowl against No. 22 Mississippi Stateon Jan. 2,the school announced Friday.

Brown, ranked as the No. 9 running back in the draft by ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr., thanked his family, teammates, coaches and fans in a tweet announcing his decision.

"Through the high and lows, my time at Illinois has been the best experience of my life," Brown wrote. "I earned a degree, advanced as an athlete, and formed lifelong connections."

Brown led the Power 5 and was third in the FBS this season with 1,643 rushing yards along with 10 touchdowns.

The first running back in program history to be named a Doak Walker Award finalist, Brown leaves Champaign as the school's second-leading career rusher (3,558 yards from 2019 to '22) behind Robert Holcombe (4,105 yards from 1994 to '97) and with the third-highest single-season rushing total behind Mikel Leshoure (1,697 yards in 2010) and Rashard Mendenhall (1,681 yards in 2007).

Brown's twin brother,Sydney, a defensive back for the Illini, announced Saturday he was entering the draft. He is listed as Kiper's No. 7 safety and also will not play in the bowl game.

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