March 28, 2011

The sky's the limit for UA's latest commit

When Brandon Greene entered high school, he had never played a down of tackle football in his life. The private school he attended up until eighth grade didn't have a team.

All of that changed when he transferred to Cedar Grove High School in Ellenwood, Ga.

As a freshman at his new school, Greene was excited about the chance to play basketball, the sport he had grown up playing his whole life, but he also thought he might give football a try for the first time.

Fast forward three years, and Greene is now considered one of the top offensive linemen in the Southeast, and he has already made a verbal commitment to play football for the University of Alabama.

"My freshman year, it was just a game," Greene said. "I didn't think I was going to play at the next level, but now I have goals. I'm trying to graduate college and further myself. I don't want anybody standing in my way right now. That's my mentality, work hard and try to prosper."

The hard work Greene has put in has paid off, but credit also has to be given to Cedar Grove head coach Ray Bonner. It was Bonner's responsibility to not just teach Greene the game of football but also instill a football mentality inside of him.

Based on his film, it's pretty evident that Bonner has gotten through to his player. On every play, Greene looks like he's trying to 'knock somebody's head off' even if he is playing on the offensive side of the ball.

"I think he's special in that he's a defensive guy playing offense," Bonner said "Physically, he's really strong, and he takes a defensive mentality to the offensive side of the ball. He's coming to you and through you on the offense. He's aggressive that way."

The scariest part might be the ceiling that Greene has as a football player. With only three years of playing experience under his belt, the 6-foot-6, 300-pound lineman has a lot of growth and development still left.

"He only can get better because he does have a lot to learn," Bonner said. "As far as pass protection, he's probably already one of the better high school pass protection guys there is."

That may be the biggest reason why Greene remains one of the most sought after players in the state of Georgia. Schools continue to call him all the time, trying to recruit him, but Greene knows where he's going. His mind is made up.

"Other schools are trying to talk to me, but I'm a pretty strong-minded kid," he said. "When I make up my mind on something, that's what I want."

As far as his decision to play at Alabama, Greene knew it was the right fit for him, but he couldn't pull the trigger until his mom knew it was the right fit for him.

"I told the Alabama coaching staff, if I get my mom down here and she likes it and if you can persuade her on the academics because she's big on academics, but if you sell her on academics, then you got me," Greene said. "If my mom loves it, then I love it."

Greene brought his mom on a visit during the first weekend of March, and she loved it. After that, it didn't take long for Greene to let the UA coaching staff know his intentions to play for the Crimson Tide.

Since his commitment, new opportunities have arisen for Greene. Last week, he was invited to participate in January's Under Armour All-American game, giving him a chance to showcase his skills in front of a national audience.

"Basically after the offer and accepting my scholarship to Alabama, so many things have opened up for me," Greene said. "Everything that I've worked so hard for is coming to light right now. It actually makes me want to work harder."

It's that type of attitude that makes his head coach believe that Greene is going to be a special player one day.

"Alabama will be really happy with him as a football player when it's all said and done."

Reach Greg Ostendorf at greg@tidesports.com.

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