As a junior, Derrick Green (Richmond, Va./Hermitage) ran for 1,500 yards and 20 touchdowns, often being taken out early because after helping his team build a comfortable lead.
The 6-foot, 215-pound running back picked up offer No. 34 last week, interesting enough, from the University of Georgia, a program where No. 34 is associated with one of the all-time great running backs in college history, Herschel Walker. The courtship between the Bulldogs and the ESPN 150 prospect really only started at the beginning of the month, which just happens to be right after the departure of tailback and returning SEC Freshman of the year Isaiah Crowell.
“Bryan McClendon reached out to me a couple weeks ago and then offered shortly after,” Green said. “Coach McClendon talked me about the depth at running back and how even though I would have to come in and work for my spot, that he felt I would be a great fit for their offense.”
Green recently released a list of his top 13 schools -- Michigan, Tennessee, Ohio State, Oregon, Ole Miss, Virginia Tech, Auburn, Clemson, Alabama, Miami, Pittsburgh, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, with no leaders. All hope is not lost for the Bulldogs, however, as the No. 54 prospect in the 2013 class plans to be in Athens soon to evaluate the program.
“I plan to cut my list down before the season starts, but I want to come down and spent time with the Georgia coaches before I make any decision,” Green said.
That trip will be part of a busy couple of weeks for Green, who plans to travel to Georgia this Thursday, Auburn on Friday, Alabama on Saturday and Ole Miss on Sunday. Then on the final weekend of July, he'll go to Ohio State for its Friday Night Lights on July 27 and then to Michigan the next day for the BBQ at the Big House. While Green is hoping to learn more about the program in Athens, there are already several things he likes about Georgia without having set foot on campus.
“Georgia has a pro-style offense and they make sure to get the ball to their running backs,” Green said. “I was talking to Coach McClendon, who played there, and he said he has been at Georgia five years and already has sent three backs to the NFL, so I like that a lot. There is a great running back tradition at Georgia.”
Out in Oregon two weeks ago at The Opening, the nation’s No. 6 running back got more positive feedback on the Bulldogs from a couple other prospects in attendance.
“I spoke with Shaq Wiggins (Tyrone, Ga./Sandy Creek), who was on my 7on7 team at The Opening, and everything he said about Georgia was positive,” Green said. “He said Georgia has a beautiful campus, how he liked the coaching staff and just how much he loves it there. Shaq is a baller but he is also really funny. I enjoyed having him on my team when we won the championship. I also talked to Derrick Henry (Yulee, Fla./Yulee) and he said he liked Alabama and Georgia and felt both places were really nice and he liked the atmosphere at both and he recommended I visit them both.”
Green describes himself as an all-purpose back with good size, speed and vision that can catch out of the backfield and work hard to get better in pass protection. While at the opening, Green got some rare feedback from one of the best running backs in the NFL that really backed up his self-evaluation.
“I spoke to Ray Rice and he told me he sees me making it to the NFL in a couple years,” Green said. “Being able to sit down with him and have him telling me what he likes about my running ability really stood out. He said to stay humble, work hard and enjoy myself but to not get a big head about the process. It was unreal to hear him say that but he said he would not be sitting down telling me that if he did not see that potential in me. It was unbelievable and really the highlight of my trip.”