Charlie Browder announced Monday on his twitter account that he has committed to play football for Tennessee.
The 6-foot-7 tight end will be a redshirt freshman after transferring from Central Florida, for whom he appeared in four games. The move makes sense for Browder, who was recruited to UCF by Tennessee coach Josh Heupel when he was coach of the Knights.
Browder, a Kingsport native, played three seasons at Dobyns-Bennett before transferring to Christ School in Arden, North Carolina. He had 18 catches for 210 yards his senior season. Browder was back at Dobyns-Bennett Monday watching his younger brother, Jack, play basketball for the Indians.
What was it like at UCF since Coach Heupel was the one who recruited you there?
Browder: “I got to UCF last January and enrolled mid-year. I was at UCF about two and a half weeks when Coach Heupel went to Tennessee. It was really cool and I could go to Tennessee with him and Coach (Alex) Golesh, but I was there and starting to make friends. I loved Orlando and they brought in Coach (Gus) Malzahn, who brought in a lot of energy.
“I went through spring ball where they moved me to receiver. They moved me back to tight end and I had a good summer. I was like, ‘It’s great and I have a role here.’ As the season went on, I saw the role of the tight end in the offense diminish.”
What spurred on the decision to transfer from UCF?
Browder: “I was in four games and had just seven snaps all year. I should have had a touchdown against Memphis and still feel bad about that. I was able to get the four games and the smallest amount of experience I possibly could.
“I gave it a year and wanted to see if there were options available to maybe be in an offense better suited to my abilities. I want to be a two-way tight end to block and catch passes. I didn’t see that coming to fruition at UCF.”
How exciting is the fast-paced offense that Coach Heupel runs?
Browder: “I remember trying to learn it the two weeks I was there with him. It’s so much information thrown at you, but once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty easy. It’s exciting to see what kind of numbers they put up. At UCF, they put up top-five offenses and at Tennessee, they’re putting up big numbers.
“As a former basketball player, it’s fast break, run-and-gun. Honestly, I don’t see why more coaches don’t run it because of all the success you can have. You keep it simple, make it easy on the players and get the matchups you want. If guys aren’t lined up, there’s not much the defense can do.”
You mentioned basketball. How did playing both sports help you?
Browder: “I remember specifically I was on an official visit to UCF in March 2020. We were sitting at a UCF basketball game and my dad asked Coach Golesh, “How did you find Charlie? You offered him when you were at Iowa State. He’s from East Tennessee and playing in Western North Carolina.’
“Coach Golesh responded there was a database where you can look up guys. He was like, ‘I watched him play basketball and I loved it.’ It was a big plus because he only recruits receivers who play basketball. You learn the lateral quickness and high pointing, doing something with your body outside of football.
“It paid dividends for me. There were my coaches at Christ School, but also my coaches at D-B. I wouldn’t be where I am without (basketball) Coach (Chris) Poore, Coach (Matt) Baker and Coach (Brandon) Reed. I wouldn’t be here without (football) Coach (Joey) Christian and all the others who coached me here at D-B.”
What are you studying in college?
Browder: “At UCF, I was majoring in business management with a minor in sports business management. At Tennessee, I plan on studying the same type of courses. They have a sports marketing and management major. At the end of everything, I would like to be a high school athletic director as an end goal. I like to work with people and I’m going to doing something in sports.”