University of Cincinnati commit, Jaelen Greene, grew up in south side Atlanta and started playing little league football for the Old National Knights at age 4. He also started basketball and baseball around that same time. Although sports have always been a big part of Jaelen’s life, that doesn’t mean he wasn’t just as silly as the next kid. Jaelen’s mom, Nykia, mentions that he has always been very outgoing. He was never afraid to make new friends or tell people how he felt.
“He was well behaved a lot of the time but I’ll never forget looking over at him at any given moment and seeing him do some kind of silly dance move.” As a toddler he was big on Spider-Man and Scooby-Doo, but ESPN was old faithful. She always had a feeling that football would be his thing. “He was always very competitive and had no problem getting aggressive on the field.”
As Jaelen grew up, a lot of football players were coming out of Atlanta such as Carolina Panther’s Cam Newton. His mother mentioned that a lot of those guys were big on giving back to their cities and would come to practices and camps to help and encourage the kids.
“He wanted to be just like them from the beginning.” Jaelen’s little league team was known around the area for being very competitive and having great players, so his mother believes this is where his passion for football began. She started noticing his football potential around 4th grade after he’d won MVP twice and multiple championship games. “No matter what games or awards he won, he always remained very humble and kept looking for ways to improve.”
In middle school Jaelen began taking football very seriously. He started talking about it more frequently and it quickly became his dream to play at the collegiate level. He began playing for Sandy Creek high school as a freshman and excelled from there. He started dieting the beginning of his 9th grade year with help from his mother who would do meal prep for him every day.
“He wanted to get healthy and gain weight the right way.” She says that although he has always been very serious about his diet, he gives himself a break on the weekends, “he’s always been big on pizza, cookies and chocolate.” As freshman year continued Jaelen made the decision to stop playing basketball and baseball to focus more on football. He began training early in the morning before school and on weekends as well. “He was very focused on getting a football scholarship, but was also able to live his life and have fun.” Jaelen’s mother always admired his ability to juggle multiple things at once with ease.
Given that Jaelen will be a long way from home when he moves to Cincinnati next year his mother has advice that she would like for him to take to college. “Never take any of your opportunities for granted and know that no matter what your family is always behind you. When opportunity knocks, you have to be ready.” She has high hopes that he will succeed at the University of Cincinnati and remain humble, loving and focused throughout the next chapter of his life.