HARTSVILLE, S.C. — Hartsville senior Eric Brown will play left tackle Friday’s Class 4A lower-state semifinal at Brookland-Cayce.
But it’s OK if he gets moved to guard.
Or center? No sweat.
“Usually when somebody asks me what position I’m going to play, I simply say I don’t know because I can play each one, and I can switch whenever I’m needed to,” Brown said.
The two-year starter and a captain on this year’s team is carrying on a tradition set by his father, Eric Sr. – a former Hartsville star lineman who went on to play at Presbyterian College.
“Eric Brown doesn’t have to look far for his Hartsville Red Fox lineage,” Hartsville coach Jeff Calabrese said. “His father is an assistant JV coach for our program. Eric is a Red Fox from the word, ‘Go.’ He loves it and has really done everything humanly possible for us as a team to be successful.”
Of course, when Brown plays left tackle Friday, that’s known for protecting the quarterback’s blindside.
“I do take a lot of pride in that each and every Friday night,” Brown said. “I want to be a big force against the defense, blocking the way for our running backs and creating holes.”
At 6 feet 3 and 300 pounds, Brown can do that quite well. But there’s more to him than his size.
“Not only does he understand what we’re trying to do, but he’s a great athlete,” Calabrese said. “For a big man his size, he can run and bend and change directions really well. And he’s extremely strong, a 500-pound squatter. He just has tremendous lower-body strength along with great balance.”
Brown, who said he is catching notice from schools like Wofford, South Carolina State, North Greenville and Newberry, was a reserve center his freshman year.
As he became more skilled, he was moved to positions like guard and tackle.
“I wanted to play," he said. "So, wherever they needed me, that’s where I played. Injuries happen, so that’s why I moved around quite a few times. I just wanted to help the team.”
Calabrese said it takes an exceptional mentality to be that versatile.
“He’s such a smart football player,” Calabrese said. “Not every kid can play all five offensive-line positions. So without a doubt, he’s a very intelligent football player. He was even voted a captain. He’s a quiet leader and leads by example both on and off the field. He’s just an excellent young man.”
Now that Brown’s high school career can be viewed as one game at a time, he remembers his preseason talk with Calabrese.
“He just told me to embrace this role,” Brown said. “With this being my last year of high school, he just told me to embrace it all and play every single game like it’s my last.”