Juwan Green: Hitting His Stride as a Great Dane
It may be beginning to get cold in Albany, but Great Danes WR Juwan Green is just heating up.
At 2-6, the sparkling season that many surrounding UAlbany Football thought possible is no longer within reach. The Danes are mired in a four-game losing streak, which has dragged them towards the bottom of the CAA conference standings. It is in seasons like these, however, where talented players often emerge from out of nowhere, and that’s exactly what Juwan Green has done.
Green, a 6’0” 175-pound junior, has lit up the stat sheet in recent weeks, including a two-game stretch in which he racked up 265 receiving yards and three touchdowns. Green is playing his first season at Albany after spending two years at prestigious Lackawanna College, a junior-college football powerhouse. Many players who move from the JUCO level to division one find themselves a bit overwhelmed, but for Green, that hasn’t been the case.
“I don’t think it’s that big of a jump. I went to Lackawanna, and we’re the number one JUCO on the East Coast. We could compete with anyone in the country”, Green said of his old team.
One possible explanation for Green’s recent dominance? Perhaps he just needed to get warmed up. After the NCAA made inquiries into his eligibility, Green was forced to sit out the first two games of the season, two losses for the Danes.
“I first got word that I was officially out for the first two games at practice, and my teammates will tell you, I just broke down. I isolated myself from everybody, didn’t want to be around anybody. But I was also eager, to the point where I’m watching [UAlbany] games in my room, on the bed shaking, just wishing I could be out there fighting and competing”, Green recalled.
Once he returned, he went to work establishing a rapport with QB Vincent Testaverde Jr., who like Green, is a transfer student playing his first season in the purple and gold. Between that and the aforementioned two-game absence, Green felt that he needed just a tad extra time to get rolling in the 2018 season.
“It’s been both getting a better bond with Vinny and also just getting back into the swing of things. That two-game absence kind of set me back to where everyone was two games ahead of me. Prior to my first game this year, my last football game was in November, so it was a long break”, Green said of his battle to get on track and be productive on the field.
Of course, by the time Green was back on the field, his position-mate, freshman WR Dev Holmes, was already putting up huge numbers. Holmes, who earlier in the season found himself in the top five for receiving yards in all of FCS football, has earned plenty of attention from opposing defenses, something Green says has benefitted the other receivers, including himself.
“Whatever side of the field Dev’s on, that’s the main focus for the defense. That’s beneficial for me and the other guys to get open, just having to win our one-on-one battles, which we can do against any corner in the conference.”
Despite choosing to play football at the college level, basketball was Green’s first love. While at Martinsburg High School in West Virginia, Green played just one year of football, but played basketball for all four of his years. Although he’s content with the path he’s taken, Green admitted that he still gives thought to his high school athletic choices.
“I definitely regret only playing one year of football. My dad always said ‘imagine if you’d played two years? Only lord knows where you’d be right now.’ If I played four years?! Man, who knows”, Green said of his choice.
As a parting statement, Green listed off which of his teammates he’d want on his basketball team for a game of pickup. After careful deliberation, he went with CB Kareem Brown, WR Jerash Reeves, DL Brian Dolce, and OL Kassy Desir.
Catch Green and the Danes next on November 3rd when they host Delaware at Tom & Mary Casey Stadium.