ROCKFORD (WREX) — Auburn grad Vederian Lowe and Harlem grad Josh Black are now some of the elder statesmen of their college teams. Lowe, a senior offensive lineman at Illinois, represented the Fighting Illini at Big Ten Media Days. Black, a senior defensive lineman at Syracuse, spoke on behalf of the Orange at the ACC Kickoff event. The two former NIC-10 standouts both decided to return for their extra year of eligibility the NCAA granted all players from last year.
Lowe serves as a leaders for the Fighting Illini and he'll help the program transition to a new head coach, with Bret Bielema taking over this year.
"After meeting with him, having a conversation over the phone, and just learning more about him and how much success he's had in the Big Ten, that played a huge part in me staying," Lowe said. "I obviously wanted to play more games with these guys. I want to go up against Owen [Carney] in practice every chance I get. Just to be here with these guys and have another season and be led by coach B, it's an honor and I'm glad I stayed."
Black had a bad taste in his mouth after last year. Syracuse had a rough season, and Black wants to go out on a better note.
"I can't go out on a losing season," Black said. "And 1-10, those numbers are horrific. You look at that on paper and it's like, 'Oh,man.' Something didn't feel right. Something didn't sit right with me. I couldn't go out on that note, personally. A lot of the guys felt the same way too. We felt like last year was not representative of who we are as a football team. It's part of my job to make sure we get on the right track before I head up out of here."
Media days mean we're getting closer to the college football season. Illinois starts a week earlier than most teams, when the Illini host Nebraska, Aug. 28. Syracuse kicks off the 2021 campaign on the road at Ohio, Sept. 4.