Green getting ready to play

Gerri Green is working as the second team middle linebacker this spring. (Logan Lowery/ Daily Journal)

Gerri Green is working as the second team middle linebacker this spring. (Logan Lowery/ Daily Journal)

Gerri Green was used to doing it all as a four-star standout at Greenville-Weston High School.

Green rarely came off the field playing running back, tight end, linebacker and even returned kicks for the Hornets.

Now a redshirt freshman at Mississippi State, Green only has one responsibility to worry about.

“You want to get out there and do everything but it’s kind of relaxing too because you don’t have to do everything,” Green said. “I know I’ve got running backs to run the ball and receivers to catch the ball. I’ve got one job now and that’s to play linebacker.”

Green spent his rookie season with the Bulldogs soaking up the playbook and learning from upperclassmen like Benardrick McKinney, Richie Brown and Beniquez Brown.

With McKinney leaving early for the NFL, Green has moved up to second team middle linebacker this spring behind Richie Brown.

“That redshirt year meant a lot,” Green said. “I was able to catch the speed of the game and how stuff is different. It’s a more physical game and I think I learned a lot, especially the scheme of the defense.”

That defensive scheme has not changed despite a change at coordinator. Manny Diaz replaced Geoff Collins following the season and also serves as Green’s position coach in addition to calling the defensive plays.

“Both coaches are physical and want to get after the ball,” Green said. “They want to get the ball. It’s similar. We’re still attacking. Both of them are great coaches and want to attack the ball.”

Green played his senior season of high school at 215-pounds but has bulked up to 240 stretched along his 6-foot-4 frame.

“I’ve gained some weight and I feel like I’m faster and stronger,” Green said. “In the SEC, you have to do those things in order to compete. I feel like I can compete now.”

Now Green’s goal is to find a way to get on the field whether it is at linebacker or working into a role on special teams.

“I’m just going to keep working at linebacker.” Green said. “Richie’s in front of me and is an earned player. He’s earned that spot. I’m just going to keep working to get on the field some kind of way.”

Part of Green’s path to playing time is getting a better grasp of the playbook. Although he made strides in that regard last fall, Green admits he can still improve in his knowledge of the defense.

“I’m still getting the playbook,” Green said. “That’s the mental part of the game. As I watch film and continue to perform (on the practice field), the playbook gets easier.”

Green was a highly recruited prep prospect earning scholarship offers from Arkansas, Auburn, Louisiana-Lafayette, Ole Miss, Tennessee and Vanderbilt. He ultimately decided to remain in his home state and has no regrets about his college destination.

“It’s the best choice I’ve made in my life,” Green said. “I’m glad I’m a Bulldog and glad I picked State. From Day 1, I was a Bulldog and I’m happy with my decision.”

I have covered Mississippi State in some capacity since 2004 and joined the Daily Journal staff in 2013. I enjoy short walks on the beach, performing concerts in my car and watching professional wrestling.

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