If Bradwell Institute senior offensive lineman Chester Brown isn’t a natural football player, he sure is close.
Brown stands 6 feet 5 and weighs 333 pounds but plays like an athletic, 250-pound guard. The native Samoan only began to play football as a freshman at Bradwell Institute when his family moved to Hinesville from California.
Though Brown is listed on all of the national scouting services, many considered him a sleeper. He had offers from Georgia State, Tennessee State and South Alabama but had not been actively recruited by Georgia until Bulldogs assistant coach Tony Ball sent him an invitation to Dawg Night.
Dawg Night is Georgia’s annual recruiting event that brings the top high school prospects in the nation between the hedges at Sanford Stadium. Many prospects at Dawg Night have been coming to the event as freshmen and sophomores, but Brown’s Dawg Night appearance was the first official camp he had ever been to.
He made it count, earning a scholarship offer from UGA head coach Mark Richt.
“I committed to play football at UGA on Wednesday. I spoke to Coach Richt and gave my verbal commitment that I would accept Georgia’s offer. It was a great experience for me and I thank God for the ability and chance to play,” Brown said. “I also want thank my parents and family. A special thanks to all of my coaches at Bradwell for teaching me to work hard.”
Coaches say Brown, who primarily plays offensive tackle at BI and runs the 40-yard dash in 5.3 seconds, has been an apt pupil.
“Chester has really improved this year. He has worked really hard in the weight room and brought leadership to the offensive line,” Bradwell offensive line coach Jeff Miller said.
Miller added that Brown lost about 30 pounds since the end of spring football in May.
At Dawg Night, UGA coaches lined up Brown at right guard during several drills to test his versatility. They reportedly were impressed with his footwork and lined him up across from Jonathan Taylor, considered the best defensive line prospect in Georgia.
“When they put me at right guard, I had to learn to adjust my stance and play with my right hand down, which I do not normally do,” Brown said. “The first time I went against Taylor he got the best of me, but the next time I was able to rip inside of him and just keep moving my feet.” Brown said.
He shared time with John Theus from the Bolles School in Jacksonville, Fla. Theus is a five-star recruit and widely is considered the best offensive line prospect in the country. He also committed to UGA, along with Camden County quarterback Brice Ramsey.
Dawg Night put recruits through drills and simulated game situations. Besides the amount of talent at the event, Brown said the biggest difference was the pace.
“In high school, you may do one drill and then jog to another,” Brown said. “At Dawg Night, we might do 20 things as part of one drill. Everyone was constantly moving all of the time. The breaks are only 30 seconds or less You have to run to another drill as soon as you finish. Practices are just like games.”
The Tigers lineman knows he will have the chance to spend Saturdays in Athens, but he first wants to finish his BI football career on a high note.
“The easy part is committing, but now the hard work comes. I have got to keep working hard in the weight room. I want to work harder to get better and to make my teammates better. I want everyone to work as hard as we can so I can help get us back to the state playoffs,” Brown said.
UGA Sports.com’s Anthony Dasher contributed to this story.