It was just a few years ago on the practice fields at Hillgrove High School in Georgia that Evan Engram and Bradley Chubb were facing off against each other as teammates. Engram was, as he is now, a tight end. Chubb was, as he is now, a defensive end.
“We banged heads a bit,” Engram told Newsday on Thursday, smiling while recalling those battles in practices.
There is a chance that the Giants could use their first-round pick to select a player from Hillgrove for the second year in a row. Last year it was Engram, and Thursday night it may be Chubb. He’s the highest-rated defensive player and would certainly fit in well with the Giants’ new defense.
“Definitely,” Engram said if he would like to be teammates with Chubb again and rekindle their friendly practice rivalry. “Definitely.”
Chubb told Newsday earlier this week that he enjoyed his time practicing against Engram as well. Engram was a year older. And while Chubb was much better at handling Engram on the line of scrimmage, when they got into space the advantage shifted.
“I had to cover him a couple of times,” Chubb recalled. “We got into it in practice a couple of times. We made each other better.”
Engram and Chubb, if he were to become a Giant, would not be the only players on the roster who attended the same high school. Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. both attended Newman High School in New Orleans, although a decade apart.
The two Hillgrove products might have actually been drafted in the same year were it not for Engram’s advice. Chubb was considering declaring for the 2017 draft but after consulting with his friend decided to stay at N.C. State for a fourth college season. Engram made the same decision and spent four years at Ole Miss.
Engram has continued to give Chubb advice, right up until Thursday.
“I’ve been keeping up with him, texted him this morning and wished him good luck and told him to enjoy today,” Engram said. “This day last year for me, I appreciated every minute of it. I remember the day like it was yesterday. It was by far one of the best days of my life and I told him to just enjoy it and savor the moment.”