Auburn Felt Like Home For Latest Commitment

A.J. Greene talks about his decision to choose the Auburn Tigers and what he likes about the program.

Brentwood, Tenn.--Talented defensive end prospect A.J. Greene had heard all about Auburn from fellow Brentwood Academy alums such as Mike Berry and King Dunlap. He had seen the success BA players had at Auburn and wondered if he could be the next to follow in their footsteps at Auburn, but he wasn't sure it was the place for him.

That all changed after taking a visit the weekend of the Georgia game.

Heading to Auburn to check out the team and atmosphere in person was a different feeling for Greene. Already checking out Coach Tommy Tuberville's program, he says that he pretty much knew that day the Tigers were going to be the team to beat. That was exactly the case for Greene as he gave a verbal commitment to the Tigers early Wednesday morning and says in the end everything he was looking for was in Auburn.

"When I took my visit up there it just felt like home to me," Greene tells Inside The Auburn Tigers. "Although I went to a game they lost and I was sad they lost, that's not what really mattered to me. It was about the atmosphere. I could just picture myself playing on that field.

"It's not that far away from home so my parents can travel to see me play. The fans are just so nice. On top of that it's a Christian environment. That really helps a lot. To have a lot of BA players go through Auburn helps a lot as well. I can see why they have because the environment is just crazy."

While the environment got Auburn up to the top of Greene's list, the attention shown from Auburn's coaching staff pushed the Tigers over the top. From Hugh Nall (Greene's recruiting coach from Auburn) to future position Coach Terry Price to Tuberville, Greene says that the way they handled things lets him know his decision is the best possible one he could make.

"Coach Nall is a great guy," Greene says. "He came down Tuesday and talked with my family and Coach (Carlton Flatt). Honestly at the time I really wanted to commit then. I don't know why I didn't. I called Wednesday and did it. Although I haven't known him long he seems like one of the nicest Christian-like men I've known.

"It was a huge honor when Coach Tuberville and Coach Price came to watch me practice," he adds. "That's when I realized that Auburn was really interested in me. That was one of the biggest things for me. To have Coach Tuberville come watch me was a huge honor. To know that a SEC coach would come down to watch a high school player like myself means that he's really interested in me. That was a huge plus."

With Auburn losing senior defensive ends Marquies Gunn and Christopher Browder and with the possibility that junior Quentin Groves could declare for the NFL Draft, the Tigers are looking hard at the defensive end position to finish out the 2007 class. Greene says that Auburn's need at defensive end was another reason choosing the Tigers was a no-brainer.

"It's a huge plus because I really want to play on the SEC level," he says. "I want to play against the best of the best to see how good I am. To know a big school like Auburn is looking for a big defensive end. That just opened a door for me. I'm going to come in and work hard and earn my spot."

A player who was considered more of a basketball prospect during his early years, Greene has just turned 17 years old and still has plenty of maturing to do despite his 6-6, 260 frame. He says that as a player his goals are to improve his entire game before arriving in Auburn next summer.

"Honestly, I think I need to work on everything," Greene says. "None of my talents that I have right now are good enough honestly. I think I need to work on my speed, my strength. I need to work on everything to be good enough to play in the league the way I want to play."

Despite not playing a ton of football, Greene is now one of the lucky few who gets to live out the dream of many kids growing up. For the next four or five years he will be a part of one of the country's top college football programs. That's something that Greene says is hard to believe considering he was more worried about basketball for much of his life. That's not a concern any longer though.

"I never really sat down and thought about it," Greene says of getting a football scholarship. "Now that it has happened it's just a honor and a blessing at the same time. There was a time when I thought I could play basketball. I think I'm a good athlete, but just looking at it I started liking football more and more as I played it. Now I'm to the point I don't play anything else.

"I think basketball helped my game," he adds. "That's where I really got my speed from. I played basketball since I was about five. Playing basketball helps your feet and your agility skills. That has really helped me playing football."

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