Last week, EJ Perry was the star of the show at the Holy Cross Pro Day, but teammates Jakob Prall (WR) and Chad Broome-Webster (OL) were also representing the Bears and did so quite well.
Broome-Webster’s story is an interesting one and began with a love affair of basketball. It also started like many football stories start, with mom not being too happy her son was playing such a violent game.
“Basketball was the first sport I really fell in love with. I have been playing for as long as I can remember and I played all throughout high school and still play pick up every now and then,” Broome-Webster said recently. “My mom wasn’t the biggest fan of me playing tackle football when I was younger because she didn’t want me getting hurt. I had played two-hand touch with my friends growing up and some flag football, but I didn’t play full on tackle football until middle school.”
Before football was the main focus, Broome-Webster actually ran cross country growing up during the fall to get in shape for basketball season.
“I’m very glad I did that because it taught me the basics of running at a very young age and these mechanics have stuck with me ever since,” he said. “I was always a lineman but I started out playing primarily on the defensive side because I was lighter at the time and didn’t know how to anchor very well. This gave me an early look into the minds of defensive linemen and only helped me when I was eventually moved to the offensive side of the ball during high school.”
From South Florida to the Ivy League – particularly to little Rhode Island – is quite a big culture shift. How did Broome-Webster end up at Brown? It all started with a camp.
“My high school coach told me about a camp in South Florida where colleges would come to evaluate the local talent,” he explained. “Several D1 programs attended, including all the Ivy League schools. I knew I wanted to go to a school with great academics, but I also wanted to compete against some of the best at the D1 level, so the Ivy League was a great fit for me.”
Camps and combines are a great way for coaches to see if you can play multiple positions, which is ultimately what led to Broome-Webster becoming an offensive lineman.
“I was primarily playing offensive line during high school, but every camper did drills on both offense and defense,” said Broome-Webster. “Brown’s D-line coach at the time was in charge of the defensive linemen drills. He told me I did a great job in all the drills, which eventually led to me getting recruited to play defensive line at Brown. I went to Brown’s camp that summer and performed well in the drills on both sides of the ball which then led to me getting one of my first Division 1 offers from Brown. It didn’t take long for me to commit once I learned about all the great things the school had to offer.”
Broome-Webster wasn’t really sure what the Holy Cross Pro Day experience would be like, but having familiar faces there certainly helped ease some nerves and it can’t hurt to be a teammate of Perry at this point.
“I greatly enjoyed the Pro Day. I didn’t quite know what to expect, but I knew a lot of teams were going to want to get a closer look at EJ,” he said. “Once I got there, it was amazing to see the amount of teams in attendance. I also quickly realized that every guy there had been working really hard in preparation for the day because they were leaving it all out there during the drills. That just encouraged me even more to match their energy and give it everything I had. I definitely felt the nerves at first, but having EJ and Jakob there as well as our entire coaching staff really helped me to feel at home.”
The best part of Pro Days is seeing guys that have never met before suddenly become each other’s biggest cheerleaders as they try to lay it all on the line in one last job interview. The camaraderie and energy was palpable for anyone inside Holy Cross’ indoor facility.
“All the other prospects were also welcoming and we were cheering on each other even though it was the first time some of us had met,” Broome-Webster added. “Thank you to Holy Cross and their staff for hosting such a great day. They definitely helped me and the others get some more exposure and put me in contact with a lot more teams than I would have otherwise.”
Broome-Webster is fully confident that his decision to go play in the Ivy League prepared him as well as anywhere else could have for the NFL. He also knew pretty early on in his career that the league may be a legitimate option. After all, you can’t really teach 6’4, 300, although that took some time to develop too.
“There have been so many great players from Brown and the Ivy League throughout history and in recent years,” he said. “I knew I had a chance to be looked at by the NFL because teams were constantly coming to our practices and it seemed like more and more were there each year.”
There was one eye-opening experience early on that may have changed his entire future.
“I will never forget my freshman experience,” Broome-Webster said. “During the summer leading up to camp, my coach called me and told me that I would be playing offensive line once I got there. I was much more comfortable playing offensive line because it was primarily what I played throughout high school. The only problem was, I had been getting in shape to play defensive line so I was a lot lighter. I weighed in at freshman camp at 238. I didn’t play a single snap my freshman year and realized that I had to gain a lot of weight if I wanted to see the field.
“By the time we were done with winter workouts and starting up spring ball, I had gained about 20 pounds. I was moving very well because I was so light, but at the same time I was getting moved. Despite that, I had a great freshman spring and secured the starting job for my sophomore year.”
Since that point, Webster started all 30 games his sophomore, junior and senior seasons.
“There were definitely times early on that I got my teeth kicked in,” he admitted. “However, thinking back on those times always gives me confidence in my abilities now. I’m constantly telling myself that if I could hold my own at such a light weight then I should have no issues at my current weight. I weighed in at 301 at our Pro Day and felt great moving throughout all the drills. I feel that going through these experiences will definitely help me at the next level.”
Growing up in the middle of three NFL cities, rooting interests varied at times. Having played college ball near Tom Brady’s former stomping grounds, once he left and went to Tampa it didn’t take long for Broome-Webster to hop on that bandwagon.
“Growing up I was always conflicted on who to root for,” he said. “I was born in Jacksonville, I have a ton of family that live in Miami, and Tampa was the closest of the three to me. I hopped on the “Tompa” Bay wave pretty quickly once I learned that he was coming to Florida. It’s been amazing to see how much he has done for the organization in such a little time. It was a rollercoaster of emotions learning about his retirement and then later his return.”
After rooting from afar, Broome-Webster has now put himself in a position to possibly share the field with the GOAT as early as August or September.
“One thing I know for certain, is that I am pumped to watch him continue to play,” he added. “It is definitely a dream of mine to share the field with him before he goes, which I selfishly hope is a little ways away.”