Branden Albert # OT
Height: 6-5 Weight: 316 Age: 29
Born: 11/4/1984 Rochester , NY
Experience: 7th season
High School: Glen Burnie HS [MD]; Hargrave Mil. Acad. [Chatham, VA]
Selected By: Kansas City Chiefs
Pick (Overall): 15 (15)
A former standout basketball player, Branden Albert did not wear a football uniform until his junior year in high school. Just a few years later, he left Virginia after starting all 37 games in which he played for the Cavaliers.
With a blend of athletic ability, size and strength at the point of attack, he quickly developed into one of the elite offensive guards in college football.
Albert first starred in basketball at Glen Burnie High School. He averaged 15.5 points and 10.6 rebounds per game as a senior, earning second-team All-Metro honors from the Baltimore Sun. He scored nine points for the Baltimore All-Stars at the Marines Charm City Challenge.
As a junior, the football staff convinced him to give football a try. He went on to start as a two-way tackle, picking up first-team All-Metro accolades as an offensive lineman by the Baltimore Sun as a senior, as he also delivered 65 tackles on defense. He also earned first-team All-Anne Arundel County honors by the Baltimore Sun in 2003 and was rated the 38th-best offensive lineman in the country by Scout.com.
Albert enrolled at Hargrave Military Academy to improve his academic standing in 2004. The offensive tackle received a four-star rating from Rivals.com, a service that ranked him 12th among the top 25 prep school players in the nation.
Upon his arrival at Virginia in 2005, Albert was inserted into the starting lineup at left offensive guard. He received Freshman All-American third-team and Freshman All-Atlantic Coast Conference first team recognition from The Sporting News. In just his third college game, he garnered ACC Lineman of the Week honors for his performance vs. Duke. When he answered the opening gun for the Music City Bowl vs. Minnesota, he became the fourth true freshman offensive lineman in school history to start a bowl contest.
Virginia had many offensive struggles in 2006 (ranked 113th in the nation with an average of 257.2 yards per game) and the collective play of the offensive line (ranked 104th in the nation in sacks allowed; 35), but Albert was named All-Atlantic Coast Conference honorable mention. He was an ACC Lineman of the Week pick for his performance vs. North Carolina State and recorded 40 knockdown blocks while allowing just one sack to finish with an 82.9% grade for blocking consistency.
As a junior, Albert earned All-American third-team and All-ACC first-team accolades. He started 11 games at left offensive guard and lined up at left tackle vs. Pittsburgh and Middle Tennessee. He twice earned Lineman of the Week honors (vs. North Carolina and Wake Forest), registering 54 knockdowns with 12 touchdown-resulting blocks, but did give up 5.5 of the team's 33 sacks allowed.
After the Gator Bowl, Albert announced that he would bypass his senior year to enter the 2008 NFL Draft. He did not submit his paperwork to the NFL advisory committee that predicts where underclassmen might be drafted if they leave school early. "I would rather go off Coach Al Groh than anybody, because he's a great resource," Albert said. "I feel like he cares about me, that he would tell me what I need to know, not what I want to hear. He won't tell me his own selfish reasons to either stay or go."