ATLANTA – It began sometime in high school. Bradley Chubb was a decent football player, but friends and others noticed that another kid with his last name was getting way more attention, so they kept asking Bradley: Hey, are you related to Nick Chubb?
The answer was yes, but the constant questions sparked a curiosity. And it led to the two future college football stars actually meeting and getting to know each other.
Georgia star tailback Nick Chubb and N.C. State defensive end Bradley Chubb are two of the best players in college football, and they are second cousins. Both can trace their ancestral routes to the famed Chubbtown, Ga. But they didn’t know each other as kids and didn’t meet until their senior year of high school. Now, as their football careers take parallel paths, they’re in constant touch.
“We text pretty much every week throughout the season just to see how I did,” Bradley said. “He sees how I did, just encouraging each other.”
Bradley spoke last week as he attended the College Football Awards show in Atlanta. He won the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, which goes to the nation’s top defensive player, last week in another ceremony, and is a consensus All-American after racking up 10 sacks and 26 tackles for loss. Many project him to be the first defensive end taken in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Nick has not made many postseason All-America teams, his stats suffering from sharing time in Georgia’s talented backfield. But he’s the second-leading rusher in SEC history and two wins away from a national championship.
The cousins – related through an aunt, according to Bradley – grew up about a 45-minute drive from each other. Nick grew up in Cedartown, closer to Chubbtown, while Bradley’s family was in Powder Springs. But Bradley’s father is from the Chubbtown area, and his grandmother is buried there. Bradley recalled visiting it about three or four times even before Nick Chubb’s fame spread the word.
“It’s still very deep to me,” Bradley said.
When Nick’s fame as a recruit began spreading, Bradley had his father set up a meeting. His aunt ended up arranging it midway through the boys’ senior year. They met before Nick went to the U.S. Army All-American Game, one of the many all-star events Nick was at – and Bradley was not.
Bradley was just a 3-star recruit, the 54th-ranked player in the state of Georgia, per the 247Sports composite. Georgia didn’t recruit Bradley, who had an offer from Georgia Tech. His father went to Georgia, so he went to football camps in Athens in middle school. But he wasn’t noticed by them as a high school prospect.
“I don’t blame them,” Bradley said. “If you came to my high school, I was about 6-1, 190. So I would look over me too if I was a coach.”
He hit a big growth spurt as a high school junior, jumping to 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds. Then he gained more weight at N.C. State, where he became one of the most accomplished players in that school’s recent history.
And yet here he was last week, surrounded by reporters asking about his second cousin.
“Oh it’s all good,” Bradley said with a laugh. “It’s all good! He deserves it. He’s one heck of a player. So he deserves it.”
Nick issued the same compliment earlier this season when asked about another Chubb making all those All-America lists ahead of him.
“That’s great for him,” Nick said, grinning. “We talk a lot, actually.”
Bradley’s college career will end in the Sun Bowl on Dec. 29, against Arizona State. Then it’s on to the NFL. And watching his second cousin chase a national championship.
“It’s definitely a fun, family rivalry,” Bradley said. “We talk about it all the time. I wish I would’ve had the chance to play him on this level.”