Chase Brown declares himself ready to enter the NFL draft

Chase Brown, running back from Illinois has decided not to play in the ReliaQuest Bowl to enter the NFL Draft.

Brown rushed for 1,643 yards this season, the best in Power Five conferences. He announced his future plans on Friday on his Twitter account.

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 matchup between teams from the Big Ten and Southeastern conferences.

“Through the ups and downs, my time in Illinois has been the best experience of my life,” said Brown, a junior in college who began his collegiate career at Western Michigan in 2018. “I won a title, advanced as an athlete and made lifelong connections.”

Brown will finish his career second on the rushing list at Illinois with 3,558 yards, trailing only Robert Holcombe (4,105 yards from 1994-97). His yardage production this season ranks third in college history behind Mikel Leshoure (1,697 in 2010) and Rashard Mendenhall (1,681 yards in 2007). He set a school record this year with 11 games with at least 100 yards.

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

“His dedication, passion and love for this team is truly appreciated. It has been an honor and a memorable experience to play for you,” he wrote. “I will always be orange and blue.”

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