Each week, the Tallahassee Democrat will feature a Q&A with a former prep athlete in the Tallahassee area. Trey Braun exited Leon High for Georgia Tech in 2011 as a 6-foot-5, 295-pound offensive lineman.
Braun was an All-Big Bend, all-district and all-state lineman his senior year, graduating early to head to Atlanta. After a redshirt season, Braun played significant time the next season and has since started 22 straight games for the Yellow Jackets, who had the No. 1 rushing offense last season.
Braun, who has earned his bachelor’s degree and gotten married, is entering his final year of athletic eligibility. In addition to being named a preseason All-ACC pick, the fifth-year senior was recently named the fourth-smartest player in college football by NFL.com.
Braun took a break from preseason practices to discuss high school, playing Division I football and what lies ahead after getting his Master’s degree.
Question: Before your senior year at Leon began, the Democrat called the talent light for class of 2011 recruits. Lincoln alum Buck Allen is now in the NFL after super career at USC and here you are looking like you may soon have that same chance. Question answered?
Answer: “It’s been a long time coming. Going back to 2010, It’s cool to think about those guys and about Buck who I actually played with for a little bit. He’s someone I’ve followed with a lot of interest. His career has been great. It’s always a long game with those classes and stuff that comes out. We’ve done some good things and hopefully we continue to do good things in the future.”
Q: Your dad was your high school offensive coordinator and he also played offensive line for Army in the 1980’s. Can your family only block if you’re in a triple-option offense?
A: “Well, I don’t know, we haven’t really proven otherwise. [Laughs] I’d like to think we can block other things, but I think we’ve just been focusing on that one.”
Q: For the average person watching on TV, how many moving parts are there going on any given play within coach Paul Johnson’s triple-option offense?
A: “It depends on the play, but the quarterback has to keep a lot in his mind and that’s something Justin Thomas does great. He’s got to make the read, understand what the pitch width is, understand if he needs to make the pitch or not, he has to feel backside pressure. And then on the line, every lineman has a little piece of the puzzle they have to put together. They have to block the playside linebacker, block the backside linebacker, and everybody on the line blocks. There’s a lot of little moving parts, but it sort of paints a beautiful picture at the end when that guy is running 80 yards down the sideline.”
Q: What’s the mechanical engineering example analogous to the Georgia Tech offense?
A: “A rack and pinion system? I don’t know. That’s a good one. Never been asked that before. Let me get back to you on that.”
Q: You played a lot alongside Wakulla alum Chris Griffin last year. Aside from the current injury he has, what kind of potential do you see in him?
A: “Chris is someone that always has great flashes of potential when he’s playing. He’s got a great build, he’s tall, he’s long. He’s someone that can do really good things. Coming into this offense especially there’s a lot of stuff to learn and inexperience can really sneak up on you. He’s definitely someone that’s been pushing through and really wanting to learn. He really wants to be a big help and a big part of this system. He’s someone to look out for.”
Q: You’ve got a mechanical engineering degree, been on the dean’s list five times and have a 4.0 GPA in your MBA program. How do you feel when someone calls you smart, and were you always this regimented towards studying?
A: “The study regimen really comes in with Georgia Tech. That’s something the engineering program teaches you how to do and how to be effective at learning the material. I try not to pay too much attention to when people call me smart. Luckily not too many people do in my day-to-day life. [Laughs] I try not to get a big head about that. I just act vaguely uncomfortable.”
Q: You once told your Leon High newspaper High Life that your goals were to earn a starting spot, graduate, win an ACC title and win the national championship. Two of four accomplished already and actually super close just last year on the last two. How much of a good decision did it turn out to be choosing Georgia Tech?
A: “I’ve really never wavered on that decision and that’s something I’m really thankful for. It’s definitely been a long journey. Especially when these young kids are making all these commitments to colleges, people are saying ‘Oh, why didn’t you go here? Why didn’t you go there? You could have been blah, blah, blah.’ But it really comes down to how you personally feel you can make an impact. I think the culture that my class has been able to instill at Georgia Tech has been something good and we’ve been able to accomplish a lot of great things.”
Q: What’s next? The NFL or the more conventional workforce?
A: “That’s definitely a decision that is in the making. I would love to have a shot at the NFL and we’ll just see how this season goes. That will be what I’m working towards.”
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