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Treylen Brown is an offensive guard. He’s also a center, and Jacksonville State head coach Rich Rodriguez said that Brown could also play offensive tackle.

Let’s just say Brown is an offensive lineman.

“He’s just a good football player,” said Rodriguez, whose team plays UNA on Saturday at Toyota Field, which is the home of the Rocket City Trash Pandas. “He could probably play tackle, he’d know what’s going on. Coach’s kid, right, so he’s going to have knowledge about football. He’s good at guard, he’s good at center. (Starting center Zack Cangelosi) is healthy now, so we can play Cangy and play Trey. But, Trey is too good of a football player not to be a starter (somewhere).”

The 6-foot-3, 315-pound Brown played guard in the fall of 2020 and spring of 2021 and made four starts at right guard while appearing in eight games in the fall of 2021. When this season began, Brown was the starter at right guard. That plan changed in the first half of the season-opening win over Stephen F. Austin in Montgomery.

Cangelosi, an All-Ohio Valley Conference selection at center last season, went down with an injury in the first half and was quickly ruled out for the rest of the game. Brown slid over one spot and became the team’s center.

“He’s pretty stout in there and has really taken charge,” Rodriguez said. “We needed that with Cangy going down. What are we going to do? We had a veteran in Trey, he slid right over there and has done a great job.”

Brown remained as the team’s center for the other five games that the Gamecocks have played this season.

“I’ve been preparing to play center since spring,” Brown said. “So, it wasn’t really that big of a difference, that big of a deal. Obviously, I was really worried about Cangy, but I had to go out there and do a job. I was prepared for it.”

Part of that preparation comes from hanging around football because of his father. Freddie Brown, Jr. has an interesting resume, which includes football coaching, motivational speaking and stints as a State Magistrate Judge in South Carolina and North Carolina. Brown Jr. is now part of the Johnson C. Smith University staff. Treylen hung around football practice when his dad was a head coach at a pair of South Carolina high schools and an assistant coach in South Carolina and North Carolina.

The younger Brown called it a blessing because he loves football, but it always wore on him as a kid.

“Always being around football, it’s tough sometimes, especially when you’re young,” Brown said. “I always would mess with the high school, my dad was a high school coach in South Carolina. When I got a little older, when I got to like 13, I thought, ‘Man, I’m about to be playing with these guys, I better stop messing with them.’”

He played at two different high schools, including Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia. He used those experiences to help when he quickly took over the new role at center.

“At center, I got to make the (middle linebacker) check,” Brown said. “I’ve got a lot more to think about, in comparison to guard. At guard, I know exactly what I need to do and I envision that. But, at center, I have to know what everybody needs to do. If they just stem to a different front, I got to call a different (middle linebacker) spot and we all have to do something different. I’m a coach’s kid, so when I’m at guard, I’m thinking about that anyway. I have confidence in my (middle linebacker) checks and stuff. It’s a big difference but not too big.”

This week could change. Rodriguez said Cangelosi is ready to come back, which means the Gamecocks have a pair of proven centers.

To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email steve.irvine@1819news.com.

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