Three years ago, Nebraska's recruiting class featured two quarterbacks. One was a highly-rated player out of Texas with impressive size and legendary arm strength. The other was a lightning-quick athlete from California who was trying to play quarterback.
The former seemed like the real deal—a big, strong quarterback with a commanding presence and superb running skills. Veteran Nebraska players marveled at his confidence when he arrived on campus early. They listened when his preternatural voice barked orders in the huddle.
The latter arrived in Lincoln under more subtle terms. Fans heard about how fast and athletic this scout team quarterback was—but many still pegged him as a defensive back or wide receiver.
In the end, the QB with all the hype, Cody Green, fell behind the unheralded Taylor Martinez—and the rest is history.
There is no questioning Martinez's explosiveness and game-changing abilities. But what happened to Cody Green? What happened to the heaping potential and talent?
In his freshman and sophomore seasons, Cody Green didn't put up horrible numbers. Overall, he has completed 66 of 122 passes for five touchdowns and three interceptions. Not bad, but extremely pedestrian in limited action.
Unlike his high school potential, Green started being mentioned as a QB who can "control a game." Not game-changing, but a good option to lead spark-less drives that eat up the clock. And even when he has led sustained drives under center, he has seemed uncomfortable or even lost at times.
Green still possesses a strong arm, but he too often overthrows short passes and hasn't really attempted any deep throws. And while he was once thought to have exceptional speed for a guy who is 6'4" and 220 pounds, Green sometimes looks flat footed and can't make quick cuts. It is, however, difficult to look speedy when the other guy—Martinez—can literally outrun every single defender on any team.
Was Cody Green a man amongst boys in high school? Perhaps, but playing high school football in Texas is sort of like the minor leagues for college football. Maybe his talent peaked as a high school senior and those around him keep getting better.
Or maybe Shawn Watson's offense wasn't suited to Green's abilities. The zone-read looked beautiful when Martinez ran it. With Green, he almost seemed like a fish out of water. You have to wonder what he would have done or can do in an offense that plays to his strengths.
It is all a bit surprising considering how confident Green still seems to be—how great he is with reporters and how much the other players respect him.
Overall, Green is a phenomenal young man who is extremely likable and unlike a lot of college athletes, has his head squarely on his shoulders. You can tell he was raised right. Because of that, there is a slight feeling of melancholy surrounding his lackluster career to date. He is the guy everyone wants to succeed.
Where does Cody Green go from here? It is only his junior year, but transfer is always an option, especially after the Spring Brion Carnes has had. Or he could go the same route Zac Lee went down and remain a Husker, even as a third stringer. Like Lee last season, Green would be a sideline cheerleader and mentor to young players.
Husker football is better for having Green on its team, but it is becoming apparent that his services will more than likely be of the player-coach variety. You never know what is going to happen in two years of college football—Cody Green could find his mojo under the right circumstances and have one or two brilliant seasons.
For the time being, Husker Nation is happy to have Cody Green on the roster. He is a positive influence and represents the school superbly as a student-athlete. Wherever he goes and whatever he ends up pursuing, he will most likely be successful, which is more than can be said about quite a few college athletes.