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Sydney Brown skipping bowl game, declares for NFL Draft

Illinois’ star safety is heading to the pros.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: AUG 27 Wyoming at Illinois Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Illinois star safety Sydney Brown announced Saturday that he will not play in Illinois’ bowl game next month in Tampa.

“It has been a journey,” Brown wrote on Twitter. “The past five years have been filled with so many ups and downs that have helped me become the man I am today.”

Brown was named First Team All-Big Ten this season for his role in Illinois’ superstar defensive backfield. Brown had 59 tackles, a sack and six interceptions (tied for most in the nation).

He finished his collegiate career in a big way, with two interceptions, a pick-six, and a fumble return touchdown against Northwestern to close out the regular season.

Brown said he is declaring for the 2023 NFL Draft.

In his letter, Brown thanked the coaching staff for his development, including head coach Bret Bielema and former defensive coordinator Ryan Walters.

Brown’s twin brother, Chase, has not announced his plans for the bowl game. He is on the verge of Illinois’ single-season rushing record.

On a fun note, Sydney Brown was among the Illini who did some good work in the Champaign community this week.

Illinois faces Mississippi State in the ReliaQuest Bowl on Jan. 2 at 11 a.m.