Hillgrove High School in Powder Springs, Georgia, is one of the top 1,120 high schools in the country, according to U.S. News & World Report. It’s also one of the newer academic institutions in Georgia, having been established in 2006.
Its football team already boasts such notable alumni as Bradley Chubb, Evan Engram and Kenyan Drake.
But for Chubb, the difference between overcoming his second ACL tear from his first is the difference between the NFL and high school.
“I actually feel like this time was a lot smoother,’’ Chubb said Friday in a Zoom video call with Denver media. “In high school, I was doing rehab two or three times a week, and it was with high school trainers. Not to put down high school trainers, but it’s not the same level of athletic rehab that I do with these guys.
“This time was smoother, and my confidence was a lot better because I knew I could come back from it because I did it before.”
Chubb tore his left ACL in his senior year at Hillgrove. He overcame it so well he wound up playing four years at North Carolina State where he had 20 combined sacks as a junior and senior, became the No. 5 overall draft pick of the Denver Broncos and broke Von Miller’s rookie team record with 12 sacks in 2018.
The evidence of his first recovery is hard to beat. Here’s to the Hillgrove High School training staff!
Chubb is confident he can successfully repeat. The Broncos’ training and rehab staff led by Vince Garcia, Steve Antonopulos and Loren Landow is second to none.
Further driving Chubb is knowing there might be some who have doubts. It’s universally accepted Chubb is an incredible athlete at 6-foot-4, 275 pounds with strength and a bring-it-every-play disposition to his pass-rush game.
But to play at the highest level that is the NFL, a second tear in the same left ACL raises concerns as to how long it will take for Chubb to regain his first-step quickness and full athletic movements.
“This league is a very ‘what have you done for me now’ league,’’ he said. “My rookie year, that’s two years ago now, so I’ve got to come back in with that same hunger I had and with that same dog mentality I had.
“Just go out here and prove everybody either right or wrong, whether they’re writing that I’m not going to be the same and prove them wrong or they’re expecting great things out of me and prove them right.’’
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