National Signing Day is Wednesday, Feb. 6, which means Hermitage running back Derrick Green has slightly more than one month to make up his mind, end his recruitment and pick his college destination. He’s not expected to announce his decision at Saturday’s Army All-American Game, a popular mechanism for recruits to broadcast their choice to a national television audience.
Green was selected as one of four captains for the East in Saturday’s game. He also was named a finalist for national player of the year. The Army All-American Game kicks off at 1 p.m. in San Antonio and will be shown on NBC.
The running back could commit as early mid-January, Hermitage coach Patrick Kane said. Michigan, Green says, currently has the edge. The Wolverines are one of six finalists — Michigan, Tennessee, Auburn, Miami, Mississippi and Oregon.
He took official visists to Michigan, Tennessee and Auburn. But Tennessee and Auburn have since fired their coaches. Plus Oregon coach Chip Kelly reportedly is close to becoming the new head man for the Cleveland Browns. That means three of Green’s six finalists could change coaches this winter.
Michigan has seemed like the favorite for the past few months. He took his official visit there in October and raved about the excitement he felt at the stadium. The enormity of the players in the Big 10 seems to fit the 6-0, 220-pound Green, an overpowering downhill runner.
In recent weeks, his home has been flooded with college assistants giving Green their final pitch. Representatives from Michigan, Auburn and Tennessee all visited him more than once. New Tennessee head coach Butch Jones has already paid Green a visit in hopes of not losing the prized recruit.
“They’re definitely trying to turn that program around,” Green said. “He’s going to do some big things at Tennessee.”
But Green’s interest seems to extend beyond those six schools.
Virginia Tech originally was among the six. But it was traded out in exchange for Miami during the fall. Florida State offered just before Christmas, offer No. 37, and Green is interested in the Seminoles. After meeting fellow Army All-American and Southern California pledge Su’a Cravens, Green got to talking with the Trojans. And they want him to come take a visit.
“I’ve got two more officials,” Green said. “I don’t know where I’m going yet.”
But the clock is ticking. He’ll need to have his mind made up by Signing Day, whether he’s made his two final visits or not. Green intends to make them.
His mother, Fran Knight, said that wherever her son chooses to attend college, she will move with him. Green was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., but moved to Richmond as a small child.
Since Hermitage’s season ended in November, the running back has been in constant motion. Before taking this trip to San Antonio, he went to New York, where he was a guest for the Heisman Trophy ceremony.
He met Archie Griffin and Doug Flutie, who autographed a football for him. He also met Heisman winner Johnny Manziel. The trip was part of Green’s honor with the Army All-American team. He also donated his time by volunteering with relief to Hurricane Sandy victims in New York.