Gerri Green spent his first season at Mississippi State sharpening his skills as a redshirt so he would be ready when his time came.
The extra year helped the young linebacker recover fully from a knee injury he sustained in high school and make the adjustment to the Southeastern Conference.
“The redshirt year helped my game a ton both mentally and physically,” Green said. “I had to get ready for the SEC physicality and the mental aspect of it. You have to know the game inside and out before you can play it so I feel like my redshirt year really helped me.”
To further enhance his development, Green latched on to linebackers Benardrick McKinney, Richie Brown and Beniquez Brown to try and absorb all the knowledge he could from the veteran players.
“I’m probably the biggest sponge,” Green said. “Last year I was always around Benardrick and this year I was always around Richie and Beniquez. I talk to them a ton to see how they see things. I feel like that’s the best way to learn through their experience so you won’t go make the same mistakes they made. I know those guys won’t lead me wrong so if I keep practicing hard and learn from those guys I’ll be okay.”
When Green’s time finally came this past fall, he was more than ready for the challenge. The 6-foot-4, 243-pounder appeared in all 13 games including one start in the Belk Bowl. He finished sixth on the team in tackles with 49 including 2.5 for loss and two interceptions.
Green was recognized for his efforts on the SEC All-Freshman team at the end of the season.
“I felt like things went good,” Green said. “I was able to get some extended reps on defense in SEC games. I think things went well in my first year being a solid back-up. When my number was called, I went out there and did what was needed to be done.”
Green arrived at MSU as a four-star prospect from Greenville-Weston and was regarded as one of Mississippi’s best prospects. He was highly pursued by some of the SEC’s top programs but had to check all the recruiting hype when he arrived on campus.
“I thought about all that at first but coach (Dan) Mullen quickly put an end to that,” Green said. “He let us know that hard work is the only thing that matters here. No matter how many stars you have, hard work is what shows who deserves to be on the field.”
After getting acquainted with his new surroundings, Green found Mississippi State more than just somewhere to go to school and play football.
“I just feel like this is the place for me,” Green said. “It’s a big family atmosphere from the coaches to the players. We all bond and do things together outside of campus. I feel like Starkville is a second home for me. I feel comfortable here. I just fit in at Mississippi State.”