Michigan Football: Why Wolverines RB Derrick Green's 5-Star Rating Means Nothing
Humility may be Derrick Green's best characteristic.
Forget the fact that he runs a 4.4-second, 40-yard dash. Forget that he's a robust 6'0", 220-pound bruiser that's slated to take Michigan Wolverines football by storm this fall.
Forget that he's the No. 1-rated running back of the 2013 class, according to Rivals.com.
The Hermitage High (Va.) senior is proud of the hard work that he put in to reach the level that he's at today. But that doesn't mean he's finished—he's just getting started.
"No status, that's gone for me," Green said during a phone interview. "When I step on Michigan's campus, I'm there to grind and learn the playbook...That 5-star rating means nothing to me. College is another level.
"I'm just going to go in there and do what I have to do."
Walk-ons have evolved into staples. Jordan Kovacs is proof of that at Michigan. There have been 2- and 3-star prospects who have skyrocketed to stardom at programs around the country.
And there has been a laundry list of 5-stars that turned out to be busts. That's part of the landscape of college athletics. Green understands that, and he's prepared for the twists and turns that lurk ahead.
Humble. Intelligent. He knows his role.
Do you agree with Green, does his 5-star rating mean nothing?
Green, according to his own words, will be "just a freshman, just a regular college football player" this fall. Wolverines fans may feel otherwise, though. The Maize and Blue faithful have already dubbed him as the next big thing in Ann Arbor.
However, Green's sensibility won't allow him to get caught up in the media hoopla. If anything, he may be a little nervous. He's visiting Michigan on Feb. 16, a personal trip, to get better acquainted with teammates and the university's campus. He plans to study the playbook and get a feel for what will be his home for the next three or four years.
Green means a lot to Michigan football, but Michigan football carries a significant reputation in his book. Heisman winners like Desmond Howard and Charles Woodson's legacies have a way of putting youngsters in their place.
The same can be said for Michigan's prestige off the field.
"Just the tradition, the academics," Green said in a humble tone. "They have a long line of history. When you say 'Michigan football'...you just know that there is a long line of history there."
Wolverines fans have running backs coach Fred Jackson, Sr. to thank for landing Green. While the rest of the staff had an impact, Green says the attention that he received from Jackson, Sr. during the recruitment process was special.
Now entering his 21st season with Michigan, Jackson, Sr. has established a golden reputation with up-and-coming ball-carriers. With careful planning, Jackson, Sr. can further mold Green into the star that he's sure to become.
"He made a real big difference," Green said. "I wanted to have a good relationship with my position coach. He's a guy with a history behind his name. I'm good now, but I want a coach to make me great."
Despite rumors of an early commitment, Green insists that he wasn't completely sold on Michigan until the morning of Jan. 26, the date he gave his verbal pledge to coach Brady Hoke.
"No truth to committing early," Green said. "I didn't know Michigan was the place until the day that I did commit. I was about 90 percent sure about where I wanted to go—I wasn't 100 percent (sure). I had to pray (about) and sleep on it."
Since age 5, Green has played the game of football. Since that age, he's done everything within his power to improve. He dropped nearly 50 pounds in high school in order to tailor his body into a lethal force.
It wasn't until recently that Green realized that he could indeed climb to an elite national level. However, he can't take all the credit.
His faith and foundation set in place within his home life has certainly aided his success. Dealing with outside pressure and influences during his sensationalized recruitment was tolerable because of his background.
"I just knew that I wanted to be the No. 1 running back," Green replied when asked about his strong work ethic. "I had the support of my family. I put God first and foremost, keeping Him first, along with my family."
Will Green exceed expectations at Michigan?
He's ready—and quite eager—for what his career at Michigan has in store for him: rivalry games with Ohio State—which will give him an "unbelievable feeling"—competing for Big Ten titles and, hopefully, a national title.
"We have a great class coming in," Green said. "Everyone just has to grind and do what they have to do...I want to learn as much as possible, on and off the field, and take advantage of everything that's been given to me."
Sure, Green is quite humble. But nothing has been "given" to him; he's more than earned his incredible 5-star rating and everything else that accompanies such a personal accolade. He's destined to be standout for the Wolverines.
But he wouldn't tell you that. According to him, he's just another kid waiting to strap on a winged helmet and make Michigan proud. He'll go far with that superb attitude.
And this is just the beginning.
Quotes from Derrick Green were obtained firsthand by Adam Biggers during a phone interview Feb. 1, 2013.
Follow Bleacher Report's Michigan Wolverines football writer Adam Biggers on Twitter @AdamBiggers81
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