CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) — University of Illinois senior left tackle Vederian Lowe has overcome more than most throughout his time as a student-athlete.

During his time at U of I, the Rockford Auburn graduate has lost his mother, become a father, and become guardian of his younger brother, Vydalis.

Lowe and his brother have the same mother, but she died in July of last year, Vydalis moved in with his older brother in Champaign.

“There has been a lot of things in my life that I’ve had to just adjust to,” said Lowe. “It’s a blessing that I’m able to have my brother with me. I’ve been wanting to do this for a very long time, not under these circumstances that have happened, but I’m just glad he’s with me. It means a lot having him here.”

Lowe’s head coach Lovie Smith said Lowe is on a leadership board, and when he offers his words of wisdom, Smith said he is taken back by his maturity.

“He has responsibility with a family so he takes everything seriously,” said Smith. “If you look at someone who sets a perfect example for the young guys, there’s nobody better than him.”

The Big Ten has granted an extra year of eligibility to student-athletes as a result of going through the hardships and abnormalities brought on by the pandemic.

Smith, who coached in the NFL for 11 seasons, said he believes Lowe has the ability to move on to the next level. However, the senior has yet to make up his mind on any plans.

His main focus is doing what’s best for his family.