Photos By Cameron Flaisch
“If I had a daughter, I’d want Nick Chubb to be my son-in-law” says Cedartown High head football coach, Doyle Kelly. Coach Kelly was not head coach when Chubb was scorching Doc Ayers Field for thousands of yards, but he did have the privilege of having the straight-A student in his class. “He’s just a great person, we can all learn from Nick Chubb,” Coach Doyle adds in what is a great day of praise for the Cedartown legend.
Past the on the field accolades, the theme of the day is, great person, great leader and great example with the common adjective being great. After watching Chubb pose for photos, go through interviews, shaking hand after hand, accepting numerous pats on the back, all with a smile on his face, you see why great is the word of choice when describing him.
His great love for his school, shown by the gesture chronicled in this sit-down with the young NFL star, speaks volumes about his character. A great love for family and for his hometown shines in a guy who is hesitant to discuss his own greatness. Chubb and Cedartown’s then head coach, Scott Hendrix, who is now the school’s principal announced the first recipient for a newly created award, all in honor of an ultimate example of sportsmanship.
Oh how high the bar has been set, to be someone so great, that a father would want you to be his son-in-law.
Do you know anyone from Cedartown, Georgia?
If so, you may know where this going. If you don’t, let’s get something straight. People from Cedartown love Cedartown and maybe a lot more than you love your hometown.
A Cedartownian will tell you “Once a Bulldog, always a Bulldog”, and they mean it, to the core of their hearts.
One of Cedartown’s biggest names is no exception to that love and pride in the city of Cedartown. The very reserved, normally quiet and laid back Mr. Nicholas “Nick” Jamaal Chubb, a Cedartown High School, University of Georgia, and Southeastern Conference (SEC) legend, will let you know right away about his hometown.
“Ask anyone in Athens. I let them know I’m from Cedartown, Georgia, and I boast and brag about the work ethic of my city,” says Chubb after filming a promotional video for the company who manufactures his favorite football helmet.
Chubb returned to the town he loved during the month of July to do something he does almost as good as hitting the A-gap and reaching paydirt. Xenith, a company who has met the challenge of making football safer through their equipment design, has seen what many others see in Chubb. Now, this SEC standout and newly-signed Cleveland Brown wants to give back by offering a product to youngsters following his lead that has always kept him in the game.
Xenith Digital Content Manager, Matthew Rea, offers a few reasons why his company chose Chubb to represent the brand and why the local gridiron giant wanted to start at home.
“Nick has been wearing our helmet for a while. He actually started wearing it here at Cedartown High School, Rea says. “He said that he really fell in love with it and continued to wear the helmet while at Georgia. We have a good relationship with the equipment managers there, so we were able to make sure he had it during his time in Athens. Nick is such humble guy and is truly an athlete who represents what Xenith stands for; the pursuit of football. Whether that be training, playing, or living.
“When he graduated,” Rea continues, “the opportunity to work together was presented to us and we decided that Nick would fit well as an advocate of the Xenith brand.”
What was born from a helmet instrumental in preventing head injuries for Chubb would now not only be a way for him to continue his success, but also a way for him to provide this same protection to his Bulldog brethren.
“Nick is donating 65 Epic helmets, which is our top-of-the-line model to Cedartown High School’s varsity football team. At Xenith, we design our products with the athlete’s safety and performance in mind. We focus on their pursuit of playing, training and living. Nick really loves the sport. He has been here working out during the off season, at his local high school, and he is an NFL superstar. So, that quiet confidence is what makes him an attractive representative for our brand.”
Walking the halls of the Cedartown High Athletic Fieldhouse, you’ll see a history and tradition worth being proud of. Chubb emphatically added his name to that history and the numbers are staggering.
He rushed for over 6,900 yards and a whopping 100-plus rushing touchdowns at Cedartown High School, including running for over 2,500 yards and 35-plus touchdowns in both his junior and senior seasons.
At the University of Georgia, he amassed 4,769 rushing yards, placing him second in UGA and Southeastern Conference history. He also had 44 rushing touchdowns. He surprised a lot of fans by returning to college for his senior season in 2017.
Chubb led his team to its first SEC Championship since 2005, and along with backfield mate Sony Michel, led the Bulldogs to a 54-48 Rose Bowl victory over the University of Oklahoma to advance to the College Football Playoff National Championship Game. UGA would go on to lose that game to Alabama in overtime by a score of 26-23, a game most Dawgs would rather not discuss, ever again.
The standout back was sitting in Buffalo Wild Wings, in Hiram, Georgia when his name was called in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft as the 35th overall selection by the Cleveland Browns.
“I feel good about it, and while I can’t tell anyone about my future, I’m just ready and excited to get up there and get to work, and take advantage of every opportunity I have,” Chubb says in true Chubb fashion.
The Browns recently held their rookie minicamp, which included a rookie dinner where the humble rookie sat beside and was introduced to a Cleveland Browns and NFL Legend, Jim Brown.
“It was an honor and privilege to sit beside such a great running back, to talk to him and see how he operates,” smiles Chubb.
Nick Chubb has gone from Cedartown Bulldog number 21, to Georgia Bulldog number 27, to the rabid fans of the Cleveland Browns’ Dawg Pound now sporting jersey number 31. However, to hear stories from those who know him, the rise to greatness has not changed the man, only the number.
Not many people know a professional athlete, and one must assume their lives are not easy when they are out in public and sometimes even in their home towns. It’s a mixture of both for Chubb when he is in Cedartown, “From the people who don’t know me, yea, I kind of get the star treatment,” Chubb says. “But for family and friends, I’m still Nick and that’s all I’ll ever want to be.”
When speaking on whether his athletic dreams have come true, he lays it out plainly.
“As a kid, everyone wants to play a professional sport, but being realistic, I didn’t think I would be the one. After such great players have come before me in Cedartown history, I didn’t think I’d be the one. I thought other people would have made it before I did. But, things happen for reason. I’m here and I’m excited about it.
“Coming home is a great feeling, and there’s so much tradition in Cedartown football,” Chubb continues. “Being the one to actually make it out, with everyone—including guys who came before me—pushing me to work hard to make it comes with some responsibility. Hopefully, the guys behind me can learn from everything I went through and see what happens when they do it the right way. Follow these steps and you will make it too.”
He says, while he can’t remember seeing some of the legends play, he’s heard so much about them and the great stories of their heroic feats on the field. His inspiration brews from these stories, his drive comes from all of it.
“It’s a combination of everyone who is a part of Cedartown, all of the Cedartown legends, the guys on the wall, just hearing their stories of how much they loved to play for Cedartown. What that meant to them instilled in my heart to chase what they were chasing, and to achieve it.”
The look on Chubb’s face whenever he speaks of Cedartown shows that his love for Cedartown is equaled by the emotions he can’t hide, no matter how hard he tries.
The event where he presents 65 Epic Xenith helmets to the team in front of family and friends also serves as the presentation of the Nick Chubb Career Achievement Award. The Cleveland rookie is again emotional when the subject matter turns to his beloved Cedartown and all of the people who supported him early on. “Everything I learned here, I’ve taken with me wherever I go. We have a work ethic here that is unmatched by other teams.”
And like a scene from a movie, the crowd cheers in unison, “Once a Bulldog, always a Bulldog!”
The Xenith Helmet Giveaway is important to Chubb. Any way he is able to give back, he plans to. “To me it’s important to give back. Through all of my stops, I’ve worn Xenith [helmets] and now the guys behind me can wear it also. It’s important to me to protect my guys. My city means a lot to me. If I get any kind of break, I’m coming home, back to where it started. Everyone sees me around. I’m really here as much as I can be. It’s just important, you know, where it all started.”
The Nick Chubb Career Achievement Award requires the recipient of this award to be a Cedartown football player who succeeds as much in class and in life as they do on the field. Following in the footsteps of a person unilaterally described as the most humble, kind, intelligent, grounded, giving, leading, hard-working man, all while being a great football player is quite the mountain to climb. This is an annual award that will be awarded to one outstanding player at the team’s football banquet each year.
Cedartown City Commissioner and Chairman Pro Temp Matt Foster presents Chubb with an official proclamation honoring his life’s achievements. Georgia State Representative Trey Kelly (R-Cedartown) reads resolutions written by the State House of Representatives in his honor. In return, Chubb provides the City of the Cedartown’s City Hall and the Georgia State House of Representatives each with a game worn jersey. “These are the real ones, not what you get in a sporting goods store,” Chubb laughs.
Foster jokes that he’s not sure if the one he has will make it to city hall.
There were a number of standing ovations for Mr. Nicholas ‘Nick’ Jamaal Chubb on this day, a humble man who just works hard, keeps his head down and grinds. He loves his city and his city definitely loves him. The emotion Chubb’s former Cedartown Head Coach Scott Hendrix (now the school’s principal) and current Head Coach Doyle Kelley display as they speak admirably of Chubb shows the impact he has on his hometown and his high school.
Coming home and giving back is what he loves, and what he loves definitely loves him back.
He also vows to give back to a town his family owned called Chubbtown located on the outskirts of Polk County. “I was born and raised in Cedartown, and my family owned Chubbtown years ago. So, that place is important to me as well. I’m also going to do something for that area to give back.”
Do you know anyone from Cedartown?
Well, you can ask anyone who does and they’ll tell you, they love Cedartown. Maybe a lot more than you love your hometown.
Any Cedartownian, including NFL star running back Nick Chubb will tell you, “Once a Bulldog, always a Bulldog,” and they mean it, to the core of their hearts.
Let’s all be sure to follow the Cleveland Browns and their rookie running back in the number 31 jersey, Nick Chubb, from Cedartown, Georgia. It’s rare that a real hero lets us see them without their cape.