With three of their top four backs falling to season ending knee injuries in the first half of the season, and their number four back missing the last four and a half ball games with an ankle injury, having a 6-foot, 215-pound insurance policy would have been nice.
Those are Greene's ‘measurables', in addition to his 4.5 second forty speed.
There were some that were of the opinion this past spring that Greene might be the most ‘NFL-like' back that Iowa had in its stable.
But Greene failed to meet the academic standards required for enrollment at Iowa, and he landed at Milford Prep Academy, the same prep school that produced standout running back Fred Russell.
Like his future Iowa teammates, Greene made lemonade out of the lemons.
"We ended up 11-1 this year," said Milford Prep coach Bill Chaplick. "In the final game (against Navy's JV team), Shonn had 167 yards on 15 carries and he played less than two quarters. We were ahead 14-6 when he got hurt, and we not only lost Shonn but we lost (Ken) Tinney, too. He popped his shoulder out, but it popped back in. It was 30 degrees, it was hailing, raining and snowing, so it's hard to come back in those conditions. We went down there with just 33 guys anyway, so the whole year caught up to us at the end."
Chaplick said Greene took a shot to his back, "but he is fine now."
Greene put up gaudy numbers this season, and Chaplick is quick to point out that Hawkeye fans should take note that Milford plays a very demanding schedule against great talent.
"Absolutely they should realize that. College coaches know who we play against. Shonn Greene had 1,367 yards on 185 carries and he scored 17 touchdowns. He had that against D1-AA and D1-A college teams, and a couple of good junior colleges." Chaplick said. "That is better than playing a high school schedule or a prep school schedule. Those kids are older and have been in their programs for at least a couple of years, so we play against a better grade of talent."
In September, Chaplick told us that Fred Russell was his ‘bar', or his standard of excellence when it came to measuring running backs he has coached. He said from the outset that Greene was right behind Russell in that area. Now, he feels Russell has company at the top of his list.
"I have been blessed to have had nine 1-A running backs, and Shonn Greene and Freddie Russell are the bar; Shonn is right there with Freddie. He didn't get as many yards as Fred, but we didn't play as many games and he got hurt. He probably played in half of the games, which makes his numbers more incredible." Chaplick said.
"Iowa is getting a great running back, and he will do great there right off the bat. He is a man right now. It would have been great for him to be there this year, but he didn't lose anything by coming here and staying on the top of his game. When he gets to Iowa in January and participates in spring ball, he will be right there for him."
So does Chaplick feel that Greene can compete for the starting job from the get go?
"Yes, I do. I follow college football, and I am a former 1-A player myself, and like I said, I have had nine 1-A backs. I believe he could step right in there as a freshman and play. That would not surprise me at all."
We asked Chaplick if Greene's style of play reminded him of any back that fans might be familiar with.
"I don't know. He has a little bit of everything. He can definitely get to the corner and he can definitely run the sideline; he has done that all year here. And he can DEFINITELY run right over you." Chaplick said. "He is bigger than Fred. When Fred was here, he was 175 or 180 pounds. Shonn told me the other day that he was 215. That is a big difference. That is a man running out there."
To repeat, Greene is 215-pounds, yet he still has the speed to hit the home run. Those statements conjure up images of former Michigan back Chris Perry.
"You could see it against Navy, a 1-A program. Every kid on that field is a scholarship 1-A player, and Shonn just kicked it into the 1-A level. He had those 167 yards in less than two quarters. He had a 300-yard day going there if he didn't get hurt." Chaplick said.
Greene is scheduled to visit Iowa on December 3rd and he will be bringing a teammate along.
The aforementioned Ken Tinney will be joining him. CLICK HERE for a recent update on Tinney) Iowa is looking at Tinney for their defensive backfield, and they have offered him a scholarship. Tinney committed to Connecticut out of high school and was not highly recruited because of academic concerns. Chaplick feels that Kinney can more than hold his own at cornerback, and at 6-foot-1, 185 pounds and an alleged sub 4.4 second forty time, he is an intriguing prospect.
"There is no doubt that he can lock anybody down. He can also play strong safety, wide receiver and quarterback. He knows the game; he is a student of the game. He does not forget anything; he knows where everybody is supposed to be on both sides of the ball on every play." Chaplick said of Tinney, who also has offers from Michigan State and Syracuse.
Green excelled on the field, but he also was a fantastic student and citizen at Milford this past season. When I called and left a message for Coach Chaplick on Monday, the woman answering the phone asked me what the call was about. I told her ‘Shonn Greene', and she immediately said, ‘He is a great person.' Chaplick agrees.
"He was 110 percent. He was a grown up. He knew why he was here, he never complained, he stuck to the books and went to class every day. The teachers love him, and hopefully on Friday we will get good news that he cleared." Chaplick said.
Chaplick had one more comment for Hawkeye fans before we ended our conversation.
"You tell those Iowa fans that they are getting a great player in Shonn Greene. We love sending kids to Iowa."
If Greene turns out to be anything like Fred Russell, the feeling will likely be mutual.