CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — We’re a few weeks away from the ReliaQuest Bowl where Illinois football will take on Mississippi State in Tampa, Florida.

For defensive lineman Johnny Newton, playing in the bowl game wasn’t a question. While it’s up in the air if the lineman will go to the NFL or return to Illinois next year, Newton says he wasn’t going to miss the opportunity to play close to home for the first time since high school.

“When I saw Tampa, I just thought of 60 tickets,” Newton said. “I’m bringing my whole family to the game. My first time playing back home since high school so I’m just trying to get everybody I can, all my family members, all my friends at the game and I’m going to put on a show playing back home. Going back home, my baby finally gets to meet all my family members. My parents haven’t met her yet, my brother, so I mean it’s a tough ride, but going back home, she can’t fly yet, but it’ll be worth it so all my family members can meet her.”