Greene getting work

True freshman quarterback Jalen Greene has been getting plenty of work during the bowl practices.

Jalen Greene had just committed to Washington after being a long time Boise State pledge. He took an official visit up to Washington and Chris Petersen convinced Greene to follow him to Montlake.

However, just a week earlier, new USC head coach Steve Sarkisian started to recruit Greene. The former Serra quarterback didn’t think much of it though as he never thought the Trojans would offer him a scholarship. USC was always Greene’s dream school though and he knew that if the Trojans ever offered, it would be hard to turn them down. Well, Steve Sarkisian did end up offering him a scholarship and the rest is history.

Greene enrolled at USC in January and is the kind of player Steve Sarkisian coveted on the recruiting trail: A mobile quarterback. With a roster full of pro-style, pocket passing quarterbacks, Greene brought a new element to the team. He knew he wasn’t going to see the field in his first year at USC, but this didn’t stop him from growing as a player on and off the field.

“Man, I had to grow pretty fast,” Greene said. “I’ve grown a lot. I’m still growing of course, but I’ve grown a lot since being here. I’ve learned a lot from coach Sark and coach Helton. They’ve been teaching me a lot so it’s really good… I’ve matured tremendously. I’m getting better on my accuracy, knowing where guys are supposed to be and knowing where the defense is going to be. I’ve just been growing, raising my IQ. The coaches have been doing a lot for me… I’m more prepared than I ever have been in high school. I wouldn’t say I know everything, but I know just as much as I need to know.”

And in the classroom, how did Greene do in his first year?

“I thought I did pretty well,” Greene said. “I came in, handled business, stayed on top of my grades, focused on school and I’m doing pretty well.”

Even without seeing the field in year one, Greene has already proven to be a big help, especially on the service team. In fact, during Wednesday’s end-of-year banquet, Greene received the Service Team Player of the Year award for offense. The southpaw was pleased about the recognition.

“Just coaches recognized I’ve been working hard,” Greene said. “Just trying to give them a look all year. I believe I’ve been doing that and they gave me the award. It’s just a blessing. Huge honor.”

USC’s matchup against Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl is quickly approaching. Steve Sarkisian recently said that the Cornhuskers boast the most mobile QB the Trojans will face all year in Tommy Armstrong Jr. The sophomore signal caller ran for 664 yards and 5 touchdowns this year, good for the 14th most rushing yards by a quarterback in the regular season. So who has the job of imitating Armstrong in practice? That would be Greene.

“I just actually try and be better than him because if I’m better than him then the defense will have no problem when they see him on Saturday,” Greene said. “That’s just the huge challenge, just giving the defense the best look I can.”

Being a member of the service team doesn’t teach you much about the Trojans’ offense, but it does give you some skills. Greene says he’s learned to stay ready at all times and focus on the P’s and Q’s of the offense you’re trying to run. He’s also had a chance to watch Cody Kessler and Max Browne a lot when the offense goes up against the service team’s defense. That experience has taught him some new tips and tricks as well.

“Most definitely,” Greene said. “I’ve been watching them when I can, when I’m not on service so I just watch them to see what they’re doing for the week and what they’re doing, what they would think on certain plays, what I can improve on and what I wouldn’t mess up… I think we all learn from each other and develop. We pick up new traits from one another so it’s really good.”

Greene is not the only player on USC’s roster that came from Serra High School in Gardena. In fact, Greene has lots of friends at USC that were Serra students, but does that mean he still hangs out with them?

“Heck no, I’m tired of seeing these dudes,” Greene said. “Nah, I’m playing. It’s good to be here with my brothers. I’m back at school with my brothers and we just get to keep competing with each other, having fun.”

The pipeline from Serra to USC is strong, but it’s not just something a coach can rely on when recruiting players. Getting a little help from current Trojans and former Cavaliers doesn’t hurt and Greene is putting in a few good words for Steve Sarkisian and the rest of the coaching staff.

“Not too much,” Greene said if he does some recruiting of his own. “I’m going to let those guys have their fun, let them know what they can do, but I do let them know that SC is the best institution in the world. They definitely know.”



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