PEMBROKE — Purnell Swett senior wide receiver Chandler Brayboy said he doesn’t play football for the notoriety or the attention, but for the love of the game.
That reason is what made his verbal commitment to Elon on his Twitter account Monday special to him.
“It’s a loss of stress off me and off my family for paying college,” Brayboy said. “This means I get to keep playing and the longer it lasts the better it is for me to do what I love.”
Brayboy picked up his first, and only offer, from Elon on June 4, and the feel of the coaching staff was what led to the decision.
“I love the atmosphere and love the coaching staff,” Brayboy said. “It’s a lifetime dream of mine to play D1 football. They are coming off a really good season and I like how Coach Mike (Shanahan), the wide receivers coach, talks to me and what he teaches me.
“I thought they were the best fit knowing that they know a lot about football.”
Elon finished 8-4 this season and made the NCAA FCS playoffs.
Coaching Brayboy the previous three seasons, Purnell Swett coach Jon Sherman has watched Brayboy transform on the gridiron.
“I’ve seen him transform into a man and a great player,” Sherman said. “He’s getting a full ride and I know the coaching staff is excited and he’s excited. I’m really happy for his family.”
The rising senior logged 1,147 yards and 11 touchdowns on 90 receptions last season in helping the Rams return to the NCHSAA postseason for the first time since 2011. His receiving yardage total was good enough for second in the Sandhills Athletic Conference as he was one of two pass catchers to cross the 1,000-yard mark last season.
After a season like that, Sherman said he knows that Brayboy will be keyed on by many teams, and the challenge will come trying to get the ball in Brayboy’s hands.
“Last year, he might have caught a few teams by surprise, but everybody knows about him now,” Sherman said. “From the coaches I talk to, they all tell him how he is a one of the best players in the state. Coaches like Richmond’s coach tell me that he is one of the most underrated players in the state.”
In an offense that lost most of its skill position players from a year ago, Brayboy will be a big part of keeping Sherman’s offense on the field and moving the ball this season.
“I’ve got to be more aggressive out there and make more players feel it, and not just juke players to get around them,” Brayboy said.
Jonathan Bym can be reached at 910-816-1977 or by email at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @Jonathan_Bym.