BenJarvus Green-Ellis

Ole Miss Tailback BenJarvus Green-Ellis has a public/media persona that is a little on the "shy" side, but insiders say he's not like that at all privately. Read about it inside.

Rebel Tailback BenJarvus Green-Ellis answers media questions the same way he runs a football.

Measured, calculated and economically.

In other words, he goes from point A to point B as quickly and as straight as possible.

He's about as straightforward as anyone can be, which his coaches and teammates appreciate and admire.

"Ben is more mature than most players," said Rebel Coach Ed Orgeron recently. "He understands the value of hard work and he approaches every day the same way. He is consistent - you get his best every rep, whether it's practice or in games or in the weight room. He's just a fantastic young man to coach. He's the ultimate team player."

Running Backs Coach Frank Wilson, who has known BenJarvus since he was in junior high, agrees with Coach O 100%.

"There's a dependability about him that is comforting," Wilson said. "You just don't have to worry about Ben doing the right things on and off the field. He's a leader and he's driven. And he's about as tough as they come."

Fans can see for themselves on Saturdays those attributes in his game. A large portion of last season, BenJarvus played with an injured shoulder and still gained 1,000 yards.

This season, he has had teeth knocked out, only to return later in the game, and against Auburn last week he had to be x-rayed after a brutal hit to the chest/shoulder region. He returned after halftime to get the Rebs out of a hole at their own 1-yard line with two tough runs that sparked an 80-yard drive that, had it gone 99, would have tied the game in a hostile environment.

Through it all, Ben remains unchanged and team orientated.

In interviews, Green-Ellis is always going to deflect the attention from himself as much as possible, despite twice-a-week flurries by the media to get him to talk about his exploits.

"I don't care if I gain one yard or 200 yards - I just want the team to win," he repeats.

A lot of players say that, but some are genuine while others aren't. BenJarvus is one of the genuine ones.

"He competes to win, not for his personal glory," Wilson adds. "It's been unfortunate that we haven't won more with him at tailback, but he knows the success we have in the future will be because he helped start it all. He will take pride in that."

BenJarvus is not stoic. He has a great personality when he loosens up and is "off the record." He likes to talk about his favorite baseball team - the New York Yankees, music and other interests, but he's not a chatter box. Again, he gets to the point and is an astute listener, comprehending and dissecting everything that comes his way before responding.

In public, he's a no-nonsense guy, just as he is a no-nonsense running back.

But roommate Mike Wallace, who is much more open and gregarious, says BenJarvus has another side besides the bruising runner.

Green-Ellis, Wallace and WR Marshay Green - all from New Orleans - live together.

"Ben is so tough on the field. I love to have him on my team because he's not going to quit and he's going to give his team everything he's got all the time," Wallace stated. "I don't know if I'd be able to come back after getting teeth knocked out or taking some of the hits he takes. I'd like to think I would, but I really don't know."

Around the house, though, it's a different dynamic.

"Marshay is the messy one, Ben is the guy who stays on the bills and gets things done," Mike continued, "but after business has been taken care of, and he's comfortable around you, he plays all day long. He's probably worse than me about playing and goofing around.

"He makes the most noise. He tries to sing and can't sing at all. We watch movies and he thinks he's an actor, trying to play scenes like the actors. He's fun, man. He's real off the wall in private, but once it's time to be serious, he doesn't let anything get in his way."

Wallace says he's going to miss the two sides to Ben's personality.

"I'm always going to stay in touch with him - we are real good friends, but it will be an adjustment for me next year. I'll miss how he plays the game and how much fun we have away from the field," Mike added.

Wallace believes there is a future in football for BenJarvus on the next level.

"I think he will do just as good in the NFL as he did in college because of his work ethic and his dependability. In fact, I think he will be able to do some things better on the next level when it's a fulltime job," Wallace closed. "If a pro team wants a winner, there's a place for BenJarvus.

"We always count on him in tough situations and he always comes through. He doesn't let anyone push him around on the field. If opponents start talking trash, he can give it right back to them and he backs it up. I love having him as a teammate and so will the guys in the NFL."

Green-Ellis' college career is coming to a close in less than a month, but his mark on the Rebel program will not be forgotten.

And neither will his influence on the coaches and players.

While most of us don't get to see every side of BJGE, it's apparent you can add "friend" to the list of reliable and productive player, leader, tough guy, and competitor to his resume'.

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