Green understands intensity of USC/CU rivalry

Over the next few weeks, GamecockAnthem will be bringing you a series of in-depth interviews with Carolina's incoming 2011 signees. In the fourth installment of this can't-miss series, Anthem talks one-on-one with athletic defensive line signee Deon Green, who is originally from the state of South Carolina and is anxious to take part in the heated in-state rivalry between USC and Clemson.

Interview with 2011 defensive line signee Deon Green: profile: Deon Green

Question: When did you first start playing football, and when exactly did you realize that you wanted to pursue a future in football?

Green: I probably started playing football in second grade, and I probably realized that I wanted to pursue a future in it in tenth grade. I saw that I wasn't good enough in basketball (laughs), so I realized that football could be my future.

Question: Can you talk about your history on the basketball court? Do you think that has helped you develop the athleticism and explosiveness that you have on the gridiron now?

Green: I grew up playing both football and basketball, but I liked basketball more. I fell in love with basketball when I was young. I think it helped me a lot to develop athletically. The running and jumping that I do on the basketball court, it helps me a lot on the football field. My footwork, basketball has really helped me with that.

Question: I've got to ask, because you don't see too many 280 pound guys dunking a basketball out there. Can you dunk on the basketball court?

Green: (Laughs) Oh yeah, of course! I can do two-handed and one-handed. I can't do any of those fancy dunks, but I can definitely throw it down.

Question: How would you describe yourself as a defensive player? What all do you bring to the table on the football field?

Green: I think I bring leadership and explosiveness. I think my get-off is probably the strongest point of my game right now. If you like seeing explosion, then that's my main job and what I'm good at.

Question: What areas would you like to improve in as a football player?

Green: Pass rushing. I always want to get better there.

What is your accurate height and weight these days?

Green: 6-4 and 282 pounds.

Question: Is there any player that you tend to model your game after on the football field?

Green: I don't want to say that I play like anybody, because everybody has their own different style on the field. But if I could play like a player, I wouldn't mind playing like (Detroit Lions defensive tackle and former Nebraska standout) Ndamukong Suh.

Question: Gearing up for the jump to the college level, what has a typical day consisted of for you workout-wise?

Green: I've been lifting a lot. I've been getting a lot of power-cleans, bench pressing, and other lifting in.

Question: Looking back on the recruiting process, many recruits have said going through that process is a once in a lifetime experience. Now that you've gone through that, what stands out most to you about your recruitment?

Green: The love from the fans of the different teams, they show you so much love once they figure out their team is trying to recruit you. It was great getting to take different visits. I had never experienced anything like it in my life. If I could, I wouldn't do it again because it was a hard process and a life-changing decision, but it all worked out for the best.

Question: You ultimately ended up signing with South Carolina, but what were the other main schools that you were focused on during your recruitment?

Green: Clemson and Penn State, those were the other two. But in tenth grade, I told my coach that I wanted to go to South Carolina. There really wasn't a lot of competition from the get-go.

Question: What made South Carolina such an attractive option for you, even at a young age?

Green: I grew up watching them, and when I went there I just felt at home. Everything felt in place, and it just felt like a place that was made for me.

Question: Can you talk about your relationship with Coach Jeep Hunter, who recruited you for the Gamecocks?

Green: Me and Jeep are cool. He showed me a lot of love, and we talk a lot. We're pretty close.

Question: Have you had the chance to talk much yet with your position coach, Brad Lawing?

Green: Oh yeah, I talk to Coach Lawing a lot too. He seems like a loving guy, but I'm pretty sure everything changes once you get on the field (laughs).

Question: What has Coach Lawing told you about the potential to come in and contribute early?

Green: He said he's going to throw me in the fire, and then it's all on me with how I perform and work out. I've got a chance to get thrown in with the big dogs.

Question: South Carolina signed an outstanding defensive line class this year, including the nation's number one player, Jadeveon Clowney. How exciting is it for you to be a part of that?

Green: I watched his highlight tape, and it will feel good to be playing next to the players that are coming in with this class. There's going to be a lot of competition, and competition is what I love best. I want to develop a bond with my teammates, so we can play good and everything can come together.

Question: What jersey number will you be wearing at USC?

Green: I'm not sure yet. The number I wanted was taken already. I wanted #92, so I'll have to see what number I can get when I get there.

Question: What kind of personal goals have you set for yourself in your first year at Carolina?

Green: Getting on the field. I'm trying to take it one step at a time. I know it's going to be a big leap, but my first goal is to get on the field.

Question: Has anyone told you what to expect with Coach Craig Fitzgerald's strength and conditioning program when you get to Carolina?

Green: They say he's one of the best, if not the best in college football or any football program. I think some NFL teams even wanted him. To get a chance to train with somebody who is wanted by NFL teams is impressive.

Question: There's a strong feeling down in South Carolina that the Gamecocks are on the verge of competing for the school's first ever SEC Championship and possibly even a national championship. How exciting is it for you to be joining the USC program now and to have the chance to do something that has never been done before?

Green: It just feels good to be a Gamecock. That's all I can say right now. I'm pretty sure we're going to have to do a lot of work to get there, and we'll need to beat a lot of good teams. I'm just taking it one step at a time right now.

Question: Looking ahead to USC's 2011 schedule, is there a certain game that jumps out at you where you can't wait to play those guys?

Green: Florida (laughs). It's gonna be real good to play them. I got a chance to talk a lot of crap to my Florida friends down here (when South Carolina beat Florida in Gainesville last year). A lot of my friends are going to Florida, and a lot of my family are Gator fans. It's the best of both worlds, I get to see my friends and family when I come down, and then I get to beat the team that they love.

Question: You are originally from South Carolina, but you obviously moved away to Florida when you were younger. Now that you're heading to USC, how familiar are you with the intensity of the in-state rivalry between South Carolina and Clemson?

Green: Oh man, that's a real intense rivalry. I grew up in Orangeburg, and they had a player named Woody Dantzler come out of there. He went to Clemson, so everybody loved Clemson and hated South Carolina. It was a Woody Dantzler town. I moved to Orlando in ninth grade, so most of my life I grew up in South Carolina. I'm real familiar with the rivalry, and I want to play a huge part in it. I want to make some huge plays in the game. I have a ton of family in South Carolina too, so I'm pretty sure they'll be there to cheer me on both ways. It'll just feel good to put a smile on my family's face.

Question: Having that history in the Palmetto state, what made the difference for you when deciding on South Carolina over Clemson during the recruiting process?

Green: I think Coach Spurrier was one of the biggest reasons. Being able to play for a legend is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I like Coach Lawing a lot. I like his system, and he's one of the top coaches too. Working with coaches as experienced as them is a blessing.

Question: Do you have any message that you'd like to pass on to Gamecock fans before you officially arrive on campus?

Green: I'm ready. I'm ready to get on the field, and I'm ready to give it my all. I'm going to make plays and give 100-percent each time I go out on the field.

Just for fun…

Favorite food? Stewed chicken and rice

Hidden talent? I'm good at video games, and I can play the piano a little bit

Nickname? Some people call me "Box." That's kind of a long story (laughs)

Favorite pro football team? Pittsburgh Steelers

Favorite overall athlete? Carmelo Anthony

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