First, let's just take a look at Green's stats on both sides of the ball from last year:
Offense: four-of-four passing for 66 yards with one touchdown; 932 yards on 133 carries with seven touchdowns; 26 receptions for 189 yards with one touchdown.
Defense: 25 tackles (15 solo, 10 assists) with one fumble recovery, one caused fumble, two tackles for losses, two passes broken up and one interception.
Any questions? Didn't think so.
It doesn't stop there however. You know how a player goes to a NIKE camp and all those impressive measurements he's been telling everyone just don't equate to what you see at a camp that tells it like it is or pretty darn close to it? Stephen is actually one of those guys that blew up (that's a good thing), posting some pretty sick stats on the weekend.
This is a portion of his NIKE combine recap:
40-Yard Dash: 4.46
20-Yard Shuttle: 4.22
Vertical Jump: 32.9"
All this equals one thing. Ok, maybe a whole bunch of things, but for the sake of argument, let's just put it simply, this kid's athleticism is right off the charts. He's quick, he's fast, he can jump, everything you need to be good on any side, but of course, he's being recruited by almost everyone as a safety. What might surprise you though is that a top-ten safety wouldn't mind playing an entirely different position in college. "If there was a chance to play running back in college, I would definitely take a look at that." Stephen said.
There's really no logical reason Green shouldn't be considered for that position, especially based on his stats last year and that's missing two games and in a passing offense no less. When you split time playing so many other positions though, it's realistically hard to get noticed above those pure running backs that don't do anything but carry the ball. Green realizes that, but sees only one thing that he says he needs to work on to put himself in that league. "My footwork might be the only thing I need to work on." Stephen said. "That's both sides of the ball, but that's about it."
The aspirations to be that feature ball-carrier are real, but Green also admits that though he's partial to that side, ultimately it probably won't affect his decision and in the end, he says it won't matter all that much. "I would look at a school recruiting me as a running back, but it doesn't matter really, because I enjoy both sides."
Green's enjoyment definitely comes out on the defensive side as he's got that attitude most defensive players have. Hit first, ask questions later. He likes it like that, along with those collisions with unsuspecting tacklers, Ronnie Lott liked to call ‘whooo hits'. Only one thing goes through Stephen's mind when he sees one of those coming. "Destroy." he said. "I don't want him to see a thing before it happens. I just want to hit him........hard."
There's another thing that Stephen wants to hit hard, it's the recruiting. Actually, it's the other way around as he wants to get hard, with offers and attention that is. He's not greedy, Stephen just looks at this process as one he's enjoying to the fullest and he wants to see just how good he can do, just like on the field. "I am loving it." Stephen said of the recruiting attention. "But, I look at my offers (6 reported right now) and wonder, just how many I can get."
Based on his early ranking, you would assume that's going to go up and a lot and why not, he's not only got the ability, but the pedigree as well. After all, he has a brother (Greg Westley) that plays for the Kansas City Chiefs and if you really want a good idea of where Stephen sees himself in the future, you have but to ask him what player at the elite level of football he models himself after. "I like Darren Sharper." he said. For those aren't familiar with Sharper (you need to get out more if you aren't), he's a safety with Green Bay, a six-year pro and a pro-bowler on top of that.
Ok, now to the good stuff. Where does Stephen want to go and can I force an exclusive out of him right now? All right, no exclusive, but what I find interest of all players from states with big football traditions is what they think about the stereotype of them having a default mode of future Arkansas Razorback. It's like that there and states like Nebraska, where it's just expected that the best high school football players from within that state go to the "big dog" in the house and of course, that means the University of Arkansas.
So, does that fit Stephen? "People tell me that, but I'm not sure why." Stephen said. "I mean, I gerw up watching them, but I am looking everywhere and I think I am going to let this all play out, take my visits and make my choice after that.
Amongst those choices right now are the obvious ones, those that have offered him, from the University of Arkansas of course to teams like Nebraska, Arkansas, North Carolina and Vanderbilt. Green however did say that right now, he does have a top three. "I like Arkansas, North Carolina and Nebraska right now." he said.
But, and yes, I am starting a new paragraph with the word "but", Stephen is in no big hurry to do anything but play football and get to the first game of the season, one of the biggest all year as his team, a AAA school faces off against one of the perennial big dogs in Arkansas, Springdale high school. "I am really looking forward to that." Stephen said. "They have about a hundred players every year. I mean, that's big-time right there."
Ok, but from the way it looks, Green is pretty "big-time" as well.
Steve Ryan can be reached at email@example.com or 402-730-5619
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