Michigan Football Recruiting: Secret to Derrick Green's Success Not a Secret

Adam BiggersSenior Analyst IIJanuary 24, 2013

Derrick Green's top three are Michigan, Tennessee and Auburn. He'll choose Saturday.
Derrick Green's top three are Michigan, Tennessee and Auburn. He'll choose Saturday.

Derrick Green's meteoric rise to prep football stardom was no accident. 

The 6'0," 220-pound Hermitage High (Va.) 5-star running back's personal success was calculated and carefully planned. 

Setting goals, achieving them and then moving onto the next plateau is just how Green—one of the University of Michigan's top targets—operates on a daily basis. 

He grinds.

He hustles.

He grinds again, only to follow with more hustle. 

That's how he's been since the eighth grade, says Hermitage coach Patrick Kane, who first encountered Green about five years ago. 

Kane has been at the helm of the Virginia prep powerhouse for 12 years. He's seen his share of phenomenal athletes make their marks as members of the football program. Spotting a star is relatively easy for Kane, who says predicting a bright future for Green isn't all that difficult.

The No. 1 rated running back of the 2013 class is set to make his college decision at 4 p.m. Saturday— a time that can't come soon enough for fans of Michigan, Auburn and Tennessee—Green's top three choices. 

"Derrick has a tremendous work ethic in terms of working out," Kane said via phone interview Wednesday evening. "He’s going to be the kind of kid that they’ll have to pull back—have him slow down a little bit… he’s just very dedicated (and) enjoys—loves working out. To see him have success…there’s no doubt that he’s going to be successful at any level.

"The sky’s the limit for him."

Oddly enough, Kane wasn't sure what to make of Green during their first meeting.

At one point, Green was close to 270 pounds—closer to the prototypical size of a defensive lineman or linebacker, not a ball-carrying tailback, the position he's played to near perfection during the past three years. 

With dedication and countless hours in the weight room, Green tailored his physique to that of a powerful rusher. 

The rest just fell into place. 

"When I first saw him, I didn't know that he was going to be a running back," Kane said. "His sophomore year, the realization came that he could be something special," later adding, "When he first came up, he was a little overweight; he was 268 (pounds)."

"He quickly transformed his body to become the player that he is. He didn't look like a running back, but he decided that’s what he wanted to do and he is who he is today." 

College football fans won't know where Green will play until Saturday. If he chooses Michigan, there's a good chance that he'll be plugged into the No. 1 role as a true freshman. 

Kane was a bit guarded when asked if he thought Green would immediately play at whichever school he chooses. For Green to hit the ground running—both literally and figuratively—largely depends on the needs of the offense. 

Coaches know best. They're also usually humble and grounded. But not every back is like Green.

"I'm a big believer in scheme, that's when you can make that statement (if he will start as a freshman)" Kane said. "Does he have the talent to play anywhere? Of course he does. But there's competition wherever you're at. 

"Next year, they (Green's potential team) may find someone better than Derrick Green."

Kane's way with words certainly suggest confidence in Green. But they're also quite conservative. There is little doubt that Green—a talent found only once every few years or so—will bump Thomas Rawls and Fitz Toussaint down a notch on Michigan's depth chart, should he choose to join the Wolverines that is. 

Green was Mr. Everything while starring for Hermitage. He raked in all-region, -metro, -state, -American and All-whatever else you can think of accolades during his senior year. He was even captain of the East team during the Army All-American Bowl. 

Yeah, he's that good. 

No stranger to sending players to the next level—about 50 or so, according to an estimate—Kane certainly enjoys seeing his players reach their potential. He didn't speculate on which school Green will choose Saturday, but he says he'll tune in to watch Green in action. 

For his sake—and the sake of Michigan fans—Kane may want to ask his cable provider if it carries the Big Ten Network—you know, just to cover all the bases.

"Seeing former players (play) on Saturday afternoon for great programs, you take great pride in that," Kane said. "The thing is, because of Derrick's work ethic, you can point to him and tell kids 'He worked his tail off.'"

Quotes from coach Patrick Kane were obtained firsthand by Adam Biggers during a 20-minute phone interview on Jan. 22, 2013. 

Follow Bleacher Report's Michigan Wolverines football writer Adam Biggers on Twitter @AdamBiggers81