Canadian running back Chase Brown has been selected by the Cincinnati Bengals with the 163rd overall pick in the fifth round of the 2023 NFL Draft.
The London, Ont. native becomes the fifth Canadian taken in this year’s draft, setting a new record for the highest number ever selected. The previous mark of four was set in 2021, 2014, and 1986.
He now joins a backfield headlined by three-time thousand-yard rusher Joe Mixon and star quarterback Joe Burrow.
Brown took home the Jon Cornish Trophy as Canada’s top NCAA player following a sensational 2022 season for the University of Illinois. He carried the ball 328 times for 1,643 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground while adding 27 receptions for 240 yards and three more scores through the air. A consensus second-team All-American, he finished fourth in the nation in rushing yards and was named a finalist for the Doak Walker Award as college football’s top running back.
After transferring to Illinois from Western Michigan as a sophomore, Brown finished his college career having rushed for 3,558 yards and 18 touchdowns on 676 carries over 47 games. He attended the prestigious Reese’s Senior Bowl all-star game in 2022 and was named one of the practice Players of the Week.
The five-foot-nine, 209-pound ball carrier led his position group with a stunning 40-inch vertical and 10-foot, seven-inch broad jump at the NFL Combine. He later clocked the fifth-fastest forty-yard dash at 4.43 seconds with a 1.53-second ten-yard split and put up 25 reps on the bench press — also leading all running backs.
Chase is the identical twin brother of Illinois defensive back Sydney Brown, who was selected in the third round of this year’s draft by the Philadelphia Eagles. The pair battled homelessness and hardship on their way to a pro football career, moving to Florida in high school in the hopes of landing a Division I scholarship.
Chase is the second-ranked prospect in the 2023 CFL Draft but is unlikely to be selected until later due to his NFL opportunity.