CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Former NFL and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign football player Brandon Lloyd will serve as the grand marshal of this year’s Homecoming Parade.
The parade takes place Friday, Oct. 27, from 6 to 7 p.m.
At Illinois, Lloyd was a consensus first-team All-Big Ten player in 2001, helping to lead the Fighting Illini to a 10-2 record and a Sugar Bowl appearance. He also set school records for receiving yards in 2001 and 2002, and for all-purpose yards in 2001.
Drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in 2003, Lloyd played for several teams in 11 seasons, including the 2008 Chicago Bears – coincidentally coached by current Illini head coach Lovie Smith. He led the NFL in receiving yards in 2010 and was named to the 2011 Pro Bowl.
Lloyd said he chose to attend Illinois because of its high academic standards. After retiring from the NFL, Lloyd continued his studies at Illinois and is currently three classes from graduating with a bachelor’s degree in communication.
“Both of my parents are educators,” Lloyd said. “In my family, education was valued over other forms of material success. Returning as a student, I’ve really immersed myself in the classes – in the scientific method and in liberal arts theories.”
Lloyd is enjoying a different student perspective at this stage of life. “I was a devoted student before, but now I can give it my undivided attention,” he said. “Last semester, I even studied abroad in Costa Rica. I lived with a host family, and I see why it’s a life-changing experience.”
The Homecoming game against Wisconsin on Oct. 28 will be the first Illinois football game Lloyd has attended since he was drafted.
“I have so much pride in choosing to attend Illinois over other schools, and I’m honored to be the parade grand marshal,” Lloyd said. “I’m looking forward to being a part of the excitement from the student body and alumni.”