Forgot About Dre? Illini RB healthy and ready to contribute


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — Dre Brown had a rough start to his college career. As a freshman, he tore his right ACL in training camp. Nearly a year later, he tore his left.

It’s all taught him one thing.

“You never know what day could be a really, really good day or a really really bad day,” Brown said.

After 26-straight games on the sideline, Brown made his college debut against Iowa last year. The Dekalb native finished the season averaging 4.5 yards per carry.

“Last year was awesome just to kind of even show myself what I could do playing against Ohio State and Northwestern, two of the top defenses in the Big Ten,” he continued. “So now, carrying some of that momentum into this season is huge.”

The Illini return three of the top five rushers from last year, which includes Brown. Both he and offensive coordinator Rod Smith say they expect Brown to get plenty of carries in the rotation.

“He’s got the all-around skill set,” offensive coordinator Rod Smith added. “He can block, he can run, he can catch. He’s got some good elusiveness to him. Just a steady back.”

“Anything for the team, honestly. I’m just ready to go out there and show them what I can do on the field on Saturdays,” Brown said.

In May, Brown got married to his wife, Lindsay. He’s says it’s given him a new perspective on life and football.

“It changes everything,” Brown explained. “It’s no longer about you. You have whole other person to tend and care to, but I love it.”

Brown has one more year of eligibility left after this season but hasn’t decided whether or not he’ll return for a fifth year. Instead, he says he’s focused on what’s in front of him.

“Football is not my everything,” he said. “Eventually, down the road, football is going to end and I’ll have to find something else to do.”

For now, he’s an important part of a backfield that hopes to improve upon last year’s league worst average of 105 yards per game.

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