A parent's perspective on USC

Serra Army All-American defensive end Rasheem Green had season ending knee surgery just before the playoffs of his senior year. While the 6-foot-5, 290-pound five-star is expected to make a full recovery before next fall, life without football is something Green and his family are well prepared for.

Gardena (Calif.) Serra five-star defensive tackle Rasheem Green has a long list of accolades and awards besides his name, but perhaps the honor his mother Shandle is most proud of is his appearance on the Deans List.

Green carries a 4.0 GPA, which largely overshadows the six sacks and 21 tackles for losses he had as a senior this past season. Thus, Green and his family took an official visit to USC this weekend with a focus toward life beyond and outside of football.

“We’ve had conversations with the USC staff with what is top in line for me and what I’m looking for as parent, which is academics,” said Green’s mother, Shandle, a UCLA alum. “I think what I got a better feel for this time around was the network that's available at USC.

“I also enjoyed meeting some of the other young men and their families that have chosen to be at USC. They’re really building a strong program.

“Any football team that is successful isn’t just built on talent, it’s built on strength of character. I think they have some young men that will contribute a lot there. I also enjoyed meeting with the coaches on a more casual level — getting to know them better.

“I think I was a little bit skeptical about the visit because we’ve been there a few times already, so you wonder what can you get out of it. But this visit was really valuable for me.

“I hadn’t thought about the young men that were going to be around my son. I just figured it was what it was. But it was really good seeing that USC could be a really positive environment if he chooses to go there.”

At present date, Green’s choices are USC, Miami, Arizona State and Oregon. With college coaches in and out of the Green household for the better part of two months, Shandle has a fairly positive review of the recruiting process.

“It wasn’t like anything I expected, but then I wasn’t really expecting any of it either,” said Shandle. “The perception is that when you have all off these scholarship offers it just a matter of choosing.

“But the more opportunity you have, the more difficult the decision becomes. There’s so much to consider and there’s a lot more to it than just saying they have a good school or they have a good football program.

“I would say it can be little bit overwhelming, and it’s hard to build a relationship with each coach. You’re only choosing one staff in the end, so it’s hard to put in the effort knowing you’re not going to have a long term relationship with a majority of the coaches you meet.”

Green accompanied her son on his official visit to Miami and will be with him on his trip to Arizona State Jan. 24.

Between now and then, The Greens will host more in-home visits, including one with USC head coach Steve Sarkisian this week.

“The in-homes have been good so far,” said Mrs. Green. “It’s nice to sit down and talk with the men would will be influencing my son as he develops into a man. I appreciate the process and we’re honored we get the opportunity to meet these coaches.”

Before coaches walk through the door on an in-home visit, Green and his family already have plenty of researched data in hand. Much of that pertains to the university rather than Rasheem and his place on the football team.

“I’m sure other people have questions about depth charts and when their son will play,” said Green. “I don’t really have those questions.

“We’ve taught our son you work for what you get. So there is no discussion about, ‘What’s going to happen when I get to the school. Am I going to be starting?’

“All of that is on Rasheem to demonstrate. He has to prove he is ready to do that. For me, it’s all about academics and the character of the men who are going to be influencing my son. I want to know where they see him fitting in, but more as a person than as a football player on the team.

“He’s going to be a student-athlete, so to what extent does the university place an importance on academics and to what extent do they expose him to the things that make you employable after college? The internships, the networking and the life skills that encourage you to grow beyond just being an athlete or student.”

Despite a coaching change, much of what Green and his family want in a college, they’ve seen out of USC over the past three years of being recruited.

“I think all the way around, USC has what you would want for a student who is both strong in academics and athletics,” said Green. “Their program overall has a lot to offer.

“But more that, forget that you’re an athlete and you got your degree. It’s about the opportunities that will be available to you after that point. the degree itself, but also the location.

“There are a lot of opportunities here in Southern California with the network available to its alumni.”

As Green and his family look forward to the final two weeks of recruiting before a signing day commitment at Serra High School, education will still be a focal point with ever school they visit and meet with.

Green’s official visit to Tempe (Ariz.) will be no different.

“I think I’ll have a lot of the same questions for ASU as I did USC,” said his mother. “I do want to ask them more about the size of the school and the size of the classes.

“It’s a bigger public school, so how big are the classes and how connected is the faculty to the academic programs they provide.”

After that trip, new LSU defensive line coach Ed Orgeron has reached out to the Greens about a possible official visit to Baton Rouge (La.) Jan. 30.

“We like and have a lot of respect for Coach Orgeron, but we haven’t decided on whether we will be visiting LSU or not,” said Green.

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