TIGARD, Ore. -- Want to know how important The Opening is to ESPN 150 running back Derrick Green? So important that the Richmond (Va.) Hermitage High School standout was in the weight room at the players’ host hotel Wednesday afternoon -- a full day before the event officially kicks off.
Green, the nation’s No. 6 running back and No. 58 overall player in the 2013 class, was the first player to check into the host hotel on Wednesday, and he is entering Thursday’s action with the goal of leaving Oregon as the top running back. Since the Nike Football Training Camp in Baltimore in May, Green has lost 20 pounds and is now 6 foot and 215 pounds.
“[The Opening] is definitely a blessing, and I’m taking it seriously,” said Green, who was 5-11 and 235 pounds in Baltimore. “I’ve been getting ready and getting my mind focused on going out and winning.
“This is an opportunity for me to become the No. 1 running back and not be the No. 6 running back. That’s my goal, to come out here and show my skills and why I should be the No. 1 back.”
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. No school is ahead of the other at the present time, but Green said he is looking to trim his list before the start of the 2012 season.
Green said he plans on making the trip to Ann Arbor for the Big House BBQ on July 29. In addition to enjoying the time spent in Ann Arbor, Green said he hopes to have an in-depth conversation with coach Brady Hoke.
“When I went there the last time, I didn’t get a chance to speak with him. That’ll be the big thing this time,” Green said. “I want my parents to have the chance to speak with him, too.”
Green said Michigan made his list because of its strong football tradition and its reputation for producing quality running backs. He wouldn’t say where the Wolverines ranked on his list, but he did say that he has a high amount of respect for the program and the coaching staff.
Green also added that he’s having fun with the recruiting process as a whole and will continue to research all of the programs.
“I’m definitely having fun with it all,” Green said. “It’s a blessing, so I don’t take it for granted. I’ve just been speaking with college coaches out there and enjoying myself.”