While Chase Brown has proven to be a monster in the backfield for the Fighting Illini, does that cement his future for the NFL if he chooses that opportunity? This year’s Junior Running Back has produced an astounding 604 yards over a span of four games and 95 attempts. While Illinois is not on the national radar, it is hard to look away from what Brown has accomplished in a short span. The Canadian native has some tough sledding ahead as he is expected to go undrafted currently, although his claim for reaching the professional level is still underway as Illinois still has eight games left in the season with bouts against a number of tough Big Ten opponents, including fourth ranked Michigan.
Big Games Against Big Opponents
Chase Brown has personified the work horse mentality in a number of big games over his career, including an astonishing 223 yards on 33 carries in last season’s effort against Penn State, who boasted a seventh in the nation ranking at the time. Prior to the efforts against the Nittany Lions, Brown had another dominating performance out of the backfield with 147 yards across 32 touches. Unfortunately the Running Back was not rewarded for his efforts in the battle against the Golden Gophers as he did not score a touchdown in that game.
Each team has had notable defenses in recent history and continue to be in conversation as some of the up and coming competitors in the Big Ten despite the dominant dynasties that sit at the top of the conference. With Ohio State and Michigan reigning supreme, it will be difficult for Chase Brown to make his way into the lime light.
For every performance against a ranked opponent, Brown has had an astounding game against an unranked opponent….but does that mean much? While the numbers are impressive, does a game that broke an Illinois record for most consecutive 100+ yard campaigns mean anything when those wins have come at the hands of teams like Chattanooga? Chase Brown managed to compile 146 yards on 20 attempts that led to a touchdown, marking his third of the season after Thursday’s exhibition against a team that many may have never heard of. The Junior Running Back has proven himself time and time again, with the exception of a few lackluster games that came with fewer than normal reps such as the 33-23 loss against Iowa in 2021 where Brown managed to amass only 42 yards on 13 carries.
Overcoming the Odds
Chase Brown may have a challenge ahead of him, but that does not mean he cannot make an impact for an NFL team, even if he gets signed as an undrafted free agent. As draft speculation continues to evolve, it appears that he could at least become a late round draft pick and overcome the statistical odds of making an impact. If Brown climbs the ranks among college running backs and earns himself a spot in the draft, he could potentially place himself amongst late round draft picks that showed great promise and success, such as another RB playing for the Chicago Bears right now, Khalil Herbert, who was drafted in the sixth round of the 2021 draft.