Michigan Captured Green's Heart (with Video)

Michigan landed its highest ranked recruit in almost a decade today, when Richmond (VA) Hermitage RB, Derrick Green declared himself a Wolverine. The decision was based in part on a feeling the the nation's #6 prospect just couldn't shake; Michigan "felt like home." **Video interview included**

Derrick Green is a Michigan Wolverine.

The road to get there may have been a bit winding, but Saturday in front of a host of family and friends the Richmond (VA) Hermitage star picked the school that months ago gave him the feeling that others couldn’t. 

“Every time I’ve been to Michigan it felt like home, and that’s just the place I want to be,” said Green.  “That’s where my heart is telling me to be, (where) God (is telling me to be).  I sat down with my parents to talk about it and Michigan is just the place for me.”

The association between “home” and “Michigan” was one that became more and more clear in recent months.  The point at which he realized that feeling might be too much for other suitors to overcome was when he made it to Ann Arbor for his first game day experience back in October.

“It was unbelievable,” Green said recalling his official visit for the Wolverines annual battle with Michigan State.  “When I went out there and the crowd started chanting my name during the game.  That’s when I really felt the love from the Michigan fans and that was just a great experience for me.”

As exciting as that was, the five-star runner was intent on basing his decision on something more than just raw emotion.  There were other more significant factors that figured prominently into the outcome.  One of them was offensive scheme.  Two of Green’s finalists – Auburn and Tennessee – run spread offenses.  While he always insisted he would have no problem playing in a spread, he also made no bones about his preference for the scheme now being employed at Michigan.

“That’s what I look for the most in a school -- what kind of offense they’re going to run,” the talented youngster stated.  “With Michigan going back to a pro-style, that’s definitely me all the way.  So it was definitely just the best decision.”

Academics were also key.  With help from his parents the planned sports psychology major gained a great appreciation for the esteem in which Michigan is held scholastically.  But most important may have been his relationships with his future coaches.  Though effusive in his praise of all of the staffs with which he became acquainted, his comfort with Michigan’s staff was second to none.  That’s in part due to the coaching turnover in both Auburn and Knoxville, but it’s mostly a reflection of the bond he felt with the men in Ann Arbor.  It’s a connection that goes all the way back to when he first began being courted by his lead recruiter at Michigan, Jerry Montgomery.

“We love Coach Montgomery,” said Green’s mother, Fran Knight.  “He’s been recruiting (Derrick) for about two years now, so he’s like part of the family for us. He comes over to the house, eats, and talks football. I just loved Michigan’s passion. Their coaches really love their football players and that’s important to me.”

Montgomery was aided in forming an insurmountable bond with Green by running backs coach, Fred Jackson.  Recruiting adversaries often try to use longtime Michigan assistant’s seasoning against him.  For Green, Jackson’s experience was one of his most appealing attributes.

“(Jackson) is a great coach, but an unbelievable person,” stated Green.  “I definitely see him as a father figure.  And just the history behind his name -- it doesn’t get any better than Coach Jackson.  So that’s definitely another reason why Michigan was just the place for me.

“I love Coach Jackson,” Mrs. Knight added.  “I just look at the longevity of him coaching at Michigan and regardless of the head coach changes, they’ve all decided to keep Coach Jackson.  That speaks volumes about the type of person that he is.”

The clincher for Green and company appears to have been his rapport with Brady Hoke.  Meeting Michigan’s headman was the only thing missing from a memorable first visit to the Great Lake State last spring. In subsequent months it became increasingly clear that the chance to get a feel for the man that would be charged with lead him might be the Wolverines’ last hurdle.  When the two finally met in person, their connection was undeniable.  That’s why Green felt comfortable with nearly giving his future coach a coronary when he motioned toward a hat not emblazoned with a block M during his announcement today. 

“I kept him on his toes,” Green said smiling.  “When I told him today, he was ecstatic. He actually started crying.  It was crazy. It was an unbelievable experience.”

Hoke’s brimming joy likely comes from the realization that he finally will have a stable of backs that matches his offensive philosophy, and the #1 runner in the country will quite possibly lead the way.  As accomplished as Green is, he won’t be handed the job just for reporting to campus.  That said, it’s overwhelmingly clear that he has the skills necessary to seize the reins from day one.

“There are a lot of great backs in the class -- any one of 10 could be the #1 back in the country -- but Green's combination of size, speed, power, balance make him the surest of bets in my opinion,” said Fox Sports Next director of scouting, Scott Kennedy. “If you project to the NFL, it's the power guys like Trent Richardson who are coveted over the speed guys. Of course players still have to have good speed, and Green does.”

“Running backs aren't developed, they're born -- so I think it's the easiest position to make an early impact. With his size and strength, he's college ready now. He'll need to get better in the passing game both blocking and catching, but he should make an impact right away depending on the depth chart in front of him.”

If Green has his way, there won’t be a depth chart in front of him.

For GoBlueWolverine’s interview with Green, press play below.


The Michigan Insider Top Stories

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Derrick Green is a Michigan Wolverine.

The road to get there may have been a bit winding, but Saturday in front of a host of family and friends the Richmond (VA) Hermitage star picked the school that months ago gave him the feeling that others couldn’t.

“Every time I’ve been to Michigan it felt like home, and that’s just the place I want to be,” said Green. “That’s where my heart is telling me to be, (where) God (is telling me to be). I sat down with my parents to talk about it and Michigan is just the place for me.”

The association between “home” and “Michigan” was one that became more and more clear in recent months. The point at which he realized that feeling might be too much for other suitors to overcome was when he made it to Ann Arbor for his first game day experience back in October.

“It was unbelievable,” Green said recalling his official visit for the Wolverines annual battle with Michigan State. “When I went out there and the crowd started chanting my name during the game. That’s when I really felt the love from the Michigan fans and that was just a great experience for me.”

As exciting as that was, the five-star runner was intent on basing his decision on something more than just raw emotion. There were other more significant factors that figured prominently into the outcome. One of them was offensive scheme. Two of Green’s finalists – Auburn and Tennessee – run spread offenses. While he always insisted he would have no problem playing in a spread, he also made no bones about his preference for the scheme now being employed at Michigan.

“That’s what I look for the most in a school -- what kind of offense they’re going to run,” the talented youngster stated. “With Michigan going back to a pro-style, that’s definitely me all the way. So it was definitely just the best decision.”

Academics were also key. With help from his parents the planned sports psychology major gained a great appreciation for the esteem in which Michigan is held scholastically. But most important may have been his relationships with his future coaches. Though effusive in his praise of all of the staffs with which he became acquainted, his comfort with Michigan’s staff was second to none. That’s in part due to the coaching turnover in both Auburn and Knoxville, but it’s mostly a reflection of the bond he felt with the men in Ann Arbor. It’s a connection that goes all the way back to when he first began being courted by his lead recruiter at Michigan, Jerry Montgomery. “We love Coach Montgomery,” said Green’s mother, Fran Knight. “He’s been recruiting (Derrick) for about two years now, so he’s like part of the family for us. He comes over to the house, eats, and talks football. I just loved Michigan’s passion. Their coaches really love their football players and that’s important to me.”

Montgomery was aided in forming an insurmountable bond with Green by running backs coach, Fred Jackson. Recruiting adversaries often try to use longtime Michigan assistant’s seasoning against him. For Green, Jackson’s experience was one of his most appealing attributes.

“(Jackson) is a great coach, but an unbelievable person,” stated Green. “I definitely see him as a father figure. And just the history behind his name -- it doesn’t get any better than Coach Jackson. So that’s definitely another reason why Michigan was just the place for me.

“I love Coach Jackson,” Mrs. Knight added. “I just look at the longevity of him coaching at Michigan and regardless of the head coach changes, they’ve all decided to keep Coach Jackson. That speaks volumes about the type of person that he is.”

The clincher for Green and company appears to have been his rapport with Brady Hoke. Meeting Michigan’s headman was the only thing missing from a memorable first visit to the Great Lake State last spring. In subsequent months it became increasingly clear that the chance to get a feel for the man that would be charged with lead him might be the Wolverines’ last hurdle. When the two finally met in person, their connection was undeniable. That’s why Green felt comfortable with nearly giving his future coach a coronary when he motioned toward a hat not emblazoned with a block M during his announcement today.

“I kept him on his toes,” Green said smiling. “When I told him today, he was ecstatic. He actually started crying. It was crazy. It was an unbelievable experience.”

Hoke’s brimming joy likely comes from the realization that he finally will have a stable of backs that matches his offensive philosophy, and the #1 runner in the country will quite possibly lead the way. As accomplished as Green is, he won’t be handed the job just for reporting to campus. That said, it’s overwhelmingly clear that he has the skills necessary to seize the reins from day one.

“There are a lot of great backs in the class -- any one of 10 could be the #1 back in the country -- but Green's combination of size, speed, power, balance make him the surest of bets in my opinion,” said Fox Sports Next director of scouting, Scott Kennedy. “If you project to the NFL, it's the power guys like Trent Richardson who are coveted over the speed guys. Of course players still have to have good speed, and Green does.” “Running backs aren't developed, they're born -- so I think it's the easiest position to make an early impact. With his size and strength, he's college ready now. He'll need to get better in the passing game both blocking and catching, but he should make an impact right away depending on the depth chart in front of him.” If Green has his way, there won’t be a depth chart in front of him.

For GoBlueWolverine’s interview with Green, press play below.

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