STARKVILLE – Marcus Green’s basketball career ended after high school, but sometimes he still feels like he’s on the hardwood.
Mississippi State’s redshirt sophomore tight end was a pretty good baller at Kemper County. He was named MVP of the annual North-South All-Star game prior to his senior season and earned All-Area Player of the Year honors from the Meridian Star.
These days, it’s all football for the 6-foot-1, 235-pound Green. After his five-catch, 100-yard game in last week’s 30-26 loss to LSU, he leads the Bulldogs (2-2) in receiving with 10 catches for 166 yards and two touchdowns.
He had a 50-yard TD catch against LSU and presented the kind of one-on-one mismatch first-year MSU coach Dan Mullen loves to create in his spread offense.
“The fact that he’s a solid blocking tight end and has a lot of athletic ability in the pass game, that’s really what we look for, those type of players in our offense, those guys that are dual-threat guys that can cause you problems in the run and pass game,” Mullen said.
When Mullen was hired in December and brought his offense with him, Green knew he’d fit right in.
“I kind of like this offense,” Green said. “It’s kind of like playing one-on-one basketball.”
Getting to this point hasn’t been easy, though.
Green’s Bulldog career got off to a promising start when he made a 50-yard reception in the second game of 2008. But he never saw the field again due to a nagging sports hernia injury.
Then-coach Sylvester Croom kept hoping Green would make it back and spark a moribund offense, but it never happened. On Feb. 9, Green underwent surgery in Philadelphia.
It was a slow road back from there.
Once off crutches, Green would walk a mile a day. Then when he was able, he’d jog about 50 yards at a time. Then he’d jog around the practice field.
He was very limited during spring practices and itched to join his teammates in full workouts. It was a mentally trying time for Green, but he kept envisioning himself doing great things.
“I kind of figured when I got well, I was going to show what I can accomplish,” he said.
Green’s return has been a godsend for an MSU offense that’s woefully short on experience in the receiving game.
“Whenever you’ve got a guy like that that’s worked hard, who shows it on the field with the way they play, they create confidence, and they get a lot of balls,” quarterback Tyson Lee said.
Green was Lee’s intended target on a third-and-goal from LSU’s 1-yard line late in Saturday’s game. He got open, but the pass was batted down at the line of scrimmage.
Green said he had visualized himself making the catch before it happened. Even though his vision didn’t come to fruition, he’s ready for the next opportunity, starting this weekend when Georgia Tech (3-1) visits Starkville.
The injury’s behind him, and a promising future lies ahead.
“My motto is, Get better every day,” Green said. “I feel like when I’m out there on the field, I’m at practice. It’s no different, other than the team in another jersey.”
Contact Brad Locke at email@example.com or 678-1571.
Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal