The Warrior Beat

Green to Titletown

April 29th, 2011

With the next-to-last pick of the third round, the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers picked former UH running back Alex Green.

Green's mother, Phyllis Smith, said they were ready to call it a night with a few picks remaining in the round. But then Green's name "popped up on the (TV) screen. ... We yelled so much I think we woke up the entire neighborhood."

Green was picking up his daughter, Harlym, at her mother's house when he received a call from the Packers.

"Are you having a good day?" Green said he was asked.

Green reponded: "Yes."

"It's about to get better," he was told.

Soon after, the Packers announced their selection on the ESPN2 telecast.

Green was selected with the 96th pick. The Cincinnati Bengals took cornerback Brandon Ghee with the 96th pick in the 2010 draft. Ghee signed a four-year contract, with a signing bonus of $648,000.

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Of course, facilities and academic services are important.

But as high school counselors always say: If you want to go to college, you'll find a way to go to college. It might take 40 years or on-line classes (or, in the case of one of my kids, a History 150 class on channel 55). This is America. Everybody has a chance to go to college. But not many get to attend on a football scholarship.

And every college football player — no matter what size, shape or medical history — harbors, at some point, the NFL dream. And why not? Early in his UH career, James Fenderson was a walk-on living in his car. He ended up playing in the NFL. Lawrence Wilson was the fifth nose tackle on a depth chart that went only three deep. He ended up as the last cut in the Baltimore Ravens' training camp.

With stars in their eyes, recruits are aware of which college programs can lead to NFL rosters. The Warriors' staff includes guys who have played in the NFL (Rich Miano, Ashley Lelie) and coached there (Greg McMackin, Dick Tomey, Mouse Davis). Offensive coordinator Nick Rolovich and running backs coach Brian Smith were in NFL training camps. The Warriors try to help. They run practices the way the pros do. They host scouts for an on-campus junior day. They stage an annual pro day. The biggest sellers, though, are the players who are drafted. And that, of course, is where Greg Salas and Alex Green can shape the future of UH recruiting. We'll find out today and tomorrow.

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There isn't much of a difference between Salas' performances against BCS and non-BCS opponents. As a starting slotback, Salas averaged 8.6 catches per game against non-BCS teams. His BCS average was 6.75. But against BCS teams, he averaged 16.44 yards per reception; against non-BCS, his average was 15.32.

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