Brown to suit up in Senior Bowl
CHAMPAIGN — Jonathan Brown will get one more chance to wear an Illinois helmet before he possibly wears one in the NFL.
The linebacker will play in the Senior Bowl on Jan. 25 in Mobile, Ala., after he accepted an invitation to play in the prestigious all-star game.
Brown finished his senior season by earning second-team All-Big Ten honors by the media and honorable mention All-Big Ten honors by the league’s coaches. He compiled a team-high 119 tackles, the most by an Illini since Brit Miller made 132 tackles in 2008, and finished his career with 451/2 tackles for loss, third most in school history.
Brown is the only Illinois player who likely will take part in the game — official rosters are set to be released within the next week — but the Big Ten will have solid representation, with 15 other players accepting an invitation to play so far.
Former Illinois fullback Jay Prosch, who transferred to Auburn and helped the Tigers reach the BCS title game this season, and former Illinois commit C.J. Fiedorowicz, a tight end at Iowa who finished his career with 84 catches for 830 yards and nine touchdowns, are among the 97 players who have accepted invitations.
Brown’s selection marks the third consecutive year Illinois has had a player at the Senior Bowl. Offensive lineman Hugh Thornton and defensive end Michael Buchanan participated in the 2013 game after offensive lineman Jeff Allen and receiver A.J. Jenkins competed in the 2012 game. If Brown hears his name called at the draft in early May, he’ll become the 10th consecutive Illinois player who played in the Senior Bowl picked by an NFL team.
What Brown did for Illinois
He didn’t leave Champaign-Urbana as Illinois’ all-time leading tackler, but
Jonathan Brown put his name up there with some of the great linebackers who have put on an Illini uniform:
Season Tackles Tackles for Loss
2013 119 15
Comment: About only playmaker on a woeful Illinois defense was leading tackler in six games
2012 59 91/2
Comment: Shoulder injury cost him the final three games of junior campaign
2011 108 191/2
Comment: Showed national-TV audience what he could do with 17 tackles against Ohio State
2010 31 11/2 Comment: Steady first season included 66-yard TD on interception return against Indiana
Totals: 317 451/2
Comment: Only behind Moe Gardner and Simeon Rice with most tackles for loss in school history