College football Power 5 rushing leaders head to the NFL Draft
The Power 5's leading rusher, Chase Brown of Illinois, has decided to work towards his life-long dream of becoming an NFL player and opt out of the ReliaQuest Bowl against No. 22 Mississippi State on January 2.
Brown released a heartfelt statement on his social media on Friday, thanking his family, Illini football, and the die-hard fans amid his decision.
"Through the high and lows, my time at Illinois has been the best experience of my life," Brown reflected.
"I earned a degree, advanced as an athlete, and formed lifelong connections ... After careful consideration, I have decided to forego the upcoming bowl game and enter the 2023 NFL Draft."
This season, Brown was the star running back for the Illini and third in the FBS this season with 1,643 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns.
Brown became the first running back in school history to be named a Doak Walker Award finalist, given to the nation's top running back. He will enter the draft as Illinois' second-leading career rusher – with 3,558 yards – and with the third-highest single-season rushing total.
His twin brother Sydney, a defensive back for the Illini, also announced on Saturday he will enter the draft.
Texas Longhorns running back Roschon Johnson declares he will try for NFL draft
Roschon Johnson's career as a Texas Longhorn is officially over.
"Coming to the University of Texas was a dream come true and I've experienced so much in my time here," Johnson said in a statement. "With that being said I have decided to declare for the 2023 NFL Draft and will opt out of the Alamo Bowl on December 29th."
As Johnson embarks on a new journey to the big league, he will leave Texas with the well accomplished career stats of 2,190 yards and 23 touchdowns on 392 carries.
In his final season in Austin, Johnson rushed for 554 yards and five touchdowns.
The Texas native initially came to the Longhorns football program as a quarterback recruit, but moved into the running back position after an injury.
The 2023 NFL Draft is set for the end of April in Kansas City, Missouri.
Cover photo: Collage: JOHN FISHER & Tim Warner / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP