The 90 Illini #11: Justin Green August 21, 2012
5′-11″, 195 lbs.
Senior (on scholarship, 1 year to play 1)
Male HS / Louisville, Kentucky
ALE Ranking last year: #25
ALE Ranking in 2010: #37
ALE Ranking in 2009: #50
What I Know About Him:
Green flipped from Ohio State to Illinois just before signing day in 2009. The reason, supposedly, was that we were going to give him a chance to play tailback (whereas Ohio State had told him his place was at Cornerback. Sure enough, he played at tailback as a true freshman and went through Camp Rantoul in 2010 looking for carries behind Leshoure and Ford.
But then Supo Sanni got injured, which moved Tavon Wilson to safety, which moved Justin Green to cornerback. And he’s done an admirable job there over the past two seasons. The one play that sticks out, of course, is the pass interference on fourth down at Penn State last year – if that official swallows his flag, JoePa doesn’t ever break the wins record (like, for real – it was fourth down and we could have taken a knee). But he was flagged, and they got a free first down, and, well, you know. (And I still look through my orange colored glasses and simply see a physical corner playing tight D on an endzone jumpball.)
What I Expect From Him:
Two years ago it was Nate Bussey. Back then, 10 days before the season, the casual Illini fan was only slightly aware of Bussey. They knew he was a safety, or maybe a linebacker, but didn’t know much more than that. By October 1st, he was the talk of the team. Who IS this flyaround linebacker that keeps popping people’s helmets off when he hits them. Next thing you know, Bussey is drafted by the Saints.
This year, I’m expecting that to be Justin Green. I’d say that if we did a name recognition deal with the casual Illini football fan, for the defense, Buchanan, Spence, Brown, Hawthorne, Hull, and Sanni would all register before Justin Green. By October 1st, I expect him to be the talk of the team. Who IS this flyaround cornerback with closing speed to burn?
The other reason he might become a household name? I think he might factor into the offense. Shhh… don’t tell anyone.