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For Immediate Release 

December 14, 2022

Chase Brown Wins the 2023 Cornish Trophy

Former Team Ontario Athlete Wins Award as Top Canadian in NCAA Football

Hamilton, Ontario –  Football Canada has announced the 2023 Cornish Trophy Winner. Former Team Ontario running back and current leading running back in Power Five football has been selected as the top Canadian in NCAA football.

Hailing from London, Ontario, Chase Brown is the winner of the sixth Jon Cornish Trophy for the top Canadian in NCAA Football as selected by the Cornish Trophy Committee.

With 1,643 rushing yards, he was second in the NCAA and the first in Power Five rushing in his second consecutive 1,000-yard season. This is Chase Brown’s second nomination for the Cornish Trophy.

Recognition: Doak Walker Award finalist as one of the top three running backs in college football… Maxwell Award semifinalist as one of the top 20 offensive players in college football… Walter Camp Player of the Year semifinalist as one of the top 22 players in college football… Senior Bowl All-American… All-Big Ten second team (coaches and media)… Ranked #1 Canadian prospect by the CFL Scouting Bureau.

Superlatives: Second in the nation in rushes of 10+ yards (48), 100-yard games (10), and rushing attempts per game (27.3)… Third in the nation in all-purpose yards (1,883) without having return duties… Fourth in the nation in forced missed tackles (78), according to PFF… Led the Big Ten in rushing yards during conference games with 1,238… Has run for 100+ yards in 10 of 12 games.

In 2021, Brown appeared on the national radar with three +200-yard games. This season, he was the model of consistency with ten consecutive +100-yard games. His steadiness was formed from a solid training regimen and habits established in spring and summer camps. He needed the endurance, with 328 carries in the regular season.

“Yeah, I didn’t expect to get over 320 carries.  The way I worked preseason is what set me up for the season and postseason,” Brown said. 

“I prepared the same way each week with the same mentality where I was looking for ways to exploit defenses, along with that (focusing) on my recovery and making sure that I was at 100% for game day.” 

Ohio Bobcats Kurtis Rourke, the junior quarterback from Oakville, Ontario, finished as the runner-up. Chase’s brother and Illinois teammate, senior DB Sydney Brown, finished third in the voting.

It’s challenging to separate Chase from his twin brother, Sydney, who had a stellar five-year run for the Fighting Illini.

“It’s been an unbelievable opportunity to share this season with him. The experiences we went through together and leaving college with a degree with my brother, It’s something I’m forever grateful for. He showed exactly what he needed to be considered one of the best DBs from Canada.” 

Chase will decide after the Rellaquest Bowl against Mississippi State on January 2 if he will declare for the NFL Draft. He is still weighing his options on playing his senior year.

“The NFL has been my dream since I started playing football as a kid. I’m grateful that I’m in a position where the NFL is an option, but coming back to Illinois would not hurt me. It would be another year of preparation, another year to be ready for the NFL.”

“Chase your dreams no matter how big or unusual they sound. When I was pushing just to play in college, people looked at me sideways when I said I wanted to play in the NFL. So, make the most of your opportunities.”

Chase entered the season as the favourite to capture the Cornish after finishing runner-up to two-time winner John Metchie III. Both Brown and Metchie are the only winners to have been selected unanimously.

This is the second time Ontario natives dominated the voting, as all five finalists hailed from the province.


Chase Brown                       Jr./RB                    Illinois/London, Ontario*               

Kurtis Rourke                      Jr,/QB                    Ohio/Oakville, Ontario                    

Sydney Brown                    Sr./DB                    Illinois/London, Ontario 

Jarred Wayne                      Jr./WR                   Pitt/Peterborough, Ontario

Tavius Robinson                Sr./DL                    Ole Miss/Guelph, Ontario

Honourable Mentions: Matthew Bergeron, Sr./OL, Montreal, Quebec/Syracuse; Akheem Mesidor, So./DL, Ottawa, Ontario/Miami; Donate Bull, Sr./OL, Victoria, BC/Fresno State.

*Unanimous selection.


2017-18  Nathan Rourke    So./QB   Ohio Bobcats/Oakville, Ontario

2018-19 Nathan Rourke    Jr./QB    Ohio Bobcats/Oakville, Ontario

2019-20 Chuba Hubbard   So./RB    Oklahoma State Cowboys/Sherwood Park, AB

2020-21 John Metchie III So./WR Alabama Crimson Tide/Brampton, Ontario

2021-22 John Metchie III Jr./WR   Alabama Crimson Tide/Brampton, Ontario

2022-23 Chase Brown    Jr./RB  Illinois Fighting Illini/London, Ontario  


ABOUT THE CORNISH TROPHY: The Jon Cornish Trophy is awarded annually to the Canadian student-athlete selected as the most outstanding player in NCAA Football. The winner is chosen by voters consisting of the trustees of the award and panellists from the TSN Krown Gridiron Nation TV program. The award is named after Jon Cornish, a former high school football player from British Columbia, a college standout running back at the University of Kansas. Cornish later went on to win three Most Outstanding Canadian awards and a 2013 Most Outstanding Player award in the CFL as a member of the Calgary Stampeders. His 2013 season was capped off by winning the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s top athlete. The award has been presented since 2017. The trophy is presented at and in conjunction with the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in Hamilton, Ontario, on an annual basis and is on permanent display there.


ABOUT FOOTBALL ONTARIO: Football Ontario is the sanctioned provincial governing body for football in Ontario, through its focus on transparency, growth, alignment and excellence, is engaged in providing football opportunities for all of Ontario. Football Ontario is driven by a commitment to deliver football programming, opportunities and resources for its members and the provincial football stakeholders. Please visit: