Running back Broderick Green will never forget the cleats that sidelined him his first season at Southern California.
They were flashy. They looked great. Sure, there was a problem — his foot was too wide for the shoe — but Green shrugged off the discomfort. He'd be all right.
But, two days before the Trojans' 2007 season opener against Idaho, his foot started hurting.
"I couldn't run at all," said Green, a former Pulaski Academy standout. "I switched shoes and tried some other shoes, but the same thing happened. Then I got an X-ray. They said it was broken. ...
"It was so stupid. I'll never wear those shoes again."
Green's shoes were largely to blame for a stress fracture in his foot, season-ending surgery, and a long year on the sidelines. It was a hard lesson. One of many he learned in his brief time at USC, which came to an end in early November when Green left the team to transfer closer to home for family reasons.
The former Parade All-American has since said he's transferring to Arkansas and will wrap up an official visit to campus today. He may not have had the amount of success he was looking for at USC, but Green's high school coach, Kevin Kelley, said the 6-foot-2, 232-pound back will benefit from his experiences.
"I don't think he realized, and I didn't realize it either, how happy he'd be being back home," Kelley said. "He thought it would be nice going home, but when he got here, he just had a glow about him and he was smiling.
"I think it was good for him being away. You know, if not for his family situation, he could very well still be out there. But at the same time, now that he's back, he's excited. He looks to have a sense of peace about him."
There's no doubt Green has all the tools to be successful at Arkansas after being courted by USC.
His best moment there was his 18-carry, 121-yard performance in the 69-0 win against Washington State in October. In the end, playing time was scarce in a backfield loaded with high school All-Americans and he finished his USC career with 168 yards and 32 carries.
Green said it wasn't his reason for leaving, but Kelley said fighting for carries did teach the running back a valuable lesson: Nothing is given to you.
"People still forget the kid is a redshirt freshman playing on one of the best teams in the country," Kelley said. "So, yeah, you're going to fight for carries and you're going to do all those things. But it did help him realize, 'I've got to work for everything I get.'
"In high school, he didn't have to work as hard because he was just God gifted to be quite honest with you."
For now, Green said he's just happy to be home.
His trip to Little Rock for Thanksgiving — where he also watched Arkansas' 31-30 win against LSU from the sideline — was his first since April. He'll be home for Christmas, too, after staying out in California last year.
"My whole family is excited," Green said. "They're all happy. When I was at home for Thanksgiving, my grandmother, my mom, they were just so excited.
"That was the first time I had been home with the whole family in awhile. Especially with all the stuff going on with them, and me being there, I felt really good."
Green said before his official visit he hadn't talked much football with Arkansas' staff because family was his first priority. But everyone knows his role.
He's hoping for an NCAA hardship waiver that will make him eligible immediately, but may have to wait to play until 2010. Whenever he's eligible, Green is expected to be the big back that fits the mold of Michael Bush, who starred for coach Bobby Petrino at Louisville. Arkansas was lacking one in 2008 and it hurt the offense.
"Whatever we need, I'll just try to do," Green said.
After spending two years on the West Coast, Green said he's just glad to be coming home.
"(USC) was fun," Green said. "But then again, it was also one of the toughest experiences I've ever had being far away from home and a lot of other stuff.
"But you live and learn. I enjoyed my experience out there. I learned a lot from it."
Ryan Mallett and Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino talk with Green before the upset of LSU.
A Green Homecoming
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