Want to attack every day with the latest Georgia football recruiting info? That’s the Intel. This rep has the latest with 4-star DL Justin Greene. He ranks as the nation’s No. 11 DL and the No. 76 overall prospect for 2024 on the 247Sports Composite ratings. On3 has him as the nation’s No. 10 DL and the No. 78 overall recruit.
LAWRENCEVILLE -- A few trips to Mountain View High School this winter and this spring have sketched out a few realities about Justin Greene.
Those are the things that one will not find on a prospect page with the stars and rankings for a major target for Georgia in the 2024 cycle.
There’s something uncommon here. A trace of it was found on the first visit. That was watching him egg his teammates on in the weight room. The second trip was for an on-field winter conditioning period. The way he interacted with his teammates was different.
When someone was down, he came over and picked them up. Threw an arm around them. When there was a rough moment for a young player, he made sure to share a kind word or 12.
We see versions and snippets of this with a lot of big-time players. Yet not quite to this extent.
“That’s just Justin man,” Mountain View defensive line coach Mario Lane said. “He’s different. He cares about this team. His teammates. He wants to be more than a great player that came through. He wants to leave something behind.”
These are things that one would hope to see out of every All-American and every top 100 recruit. But it does not happen. Especially the way that Greene does it.
“I feel like I want everyone to know they can depend on me,” said Greene, while moving his hand above his head. “I’m not just up here because I have a lot of big offers. I feel like we are a better defense if everyone communicates with one another and knows one another and is all on the same page.”
He takes time to teach the younger guys. To tell them how to get better. To specifically tell them how he got better. He will put up with some rather silly questions from the young guys that don’t much about spring football.
Greene was there once. He gets it.
During a water break at practice, he might find a teammate he had to rip through. His coaches expect to see his max effort on every rep. Even if two teammates still can’t hold him back. Even if bodies start flying.
Greene cares about building people up because that’s what he had to do for himself. He was an All-Region player in the hotbed of football that Gwinnett County after his freshman and sophomore seasons.
But that wasn’t good enough. He realized he wasn’t named All-Gwinnett County or All-State. He also didn’t want to rest on the college attention he was getting at the time. It was peaking with ACC interest.
Greene, who was already at the 6-foot-4 mark as a freshman, wanted every offer.
He decided to augment his body. It reached the point that when coaches came through for his junior year, they were like ‘Who is that?” after he packed 30-40 pounds onto his frame.
Lane told him he needed to. Then trained him to do so.
“A lot of the college coaches didn’t know him anymore,” Mountain View head coach John Poitevint said. “He changed his whole body. He went from 210 or 212 which was a good frame as a sophomore. But he went from fighting his tail off in the trenches in Gwinnett County football to a whole another level.”
There were a lot of plays last fall that showed what he did all that hard work for.
“He just takes the offensive tackle and really just bull drives back him into the backfield,” Poitevint said. “Gets extension and separation off the guy and then makes the tackle and makes the play.”
It wasn’t that he was now able to do that. Greene kept doing it against some very good tackles in Gwinnett County.
These are all reasons why Georgia wants him to fit into the blueprints for its next championship defense. With the defensive line room expected to see four or five names move on to Sundays after this season, he is a vital in-state piece for the ‘Dawgs in 2024.
Georgia defensive line coach Travion Scott has told him as much.
He only had 63 tackles and four sacks a year ago, but that was due to constant double teams on a 5-6 team. His Bears lost four of its last five games. A lot of teams simply chose to run away from his side.
Yet he had a stat that speaks to his ability to knife into the backfield when he had to.
Greene blocked six kicks last fall as a junior. That’s a stat that’s pretty much unheard of. Even for an All-American and a top-100 overall prospect.
That feat was beefed up by blocking a kick in four straight games.
Check out his junior film below.
How does Justin Greene feel about Georgia?
Greene said this week he’s likely done with his unofficial visits. He’ll take his officials in June and knock them out. The four schools he’s still considering are Georgia, South Carolina, Auburn and LSU.
That’s the order he will take his officials in. Greene feels now it would only complicate things to invite another school into the mix.
He’s a player that loves football and enjoys being recruited. He values it, but he doesn’t love getting recruited. There is a difference. His recruitment is not the number one thing for him.
The priorities for him are lifting and training and studying. Just about every coach that has tried to recruit him has had some difficulty getting him on the phone. The same goes for the reporters out there, too.
“JG” also carries a 3.6 grade-point average. He comes from a military family. The list of plusses here kept stacking up.
“He’s extremely focused and has his priorities together,” his head coach said.
What sticks out about the ‘Dawgs?
“I just watched the last NFL Draft and they really develop their defense,” Greene said. “Their front is heavy and loaded right now and honestly I think that I trust them with my development when I’m there for three or four years. I think they can get me to the next level.”
How have the ‘Dawgs convinced him that he is a priority?
“Coach Scott said the only reason he wasn’t on me before was that I was kind of light,” Greene said. “Before I put on this weight. He was watching me earlier this month in practice. He did a little extra scouting on me up close and after he saw me work a little bit at practice he said ‘I’m like that for sure’ and that he needs me.”
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What’s next for Justin Greene here?
Greene is happy with where his recruiting is at.
“I’ve got it down to four teams now,” he said. ‘I’m just trying to make the right choice. I can’t really mess up with any of these schools. They are all great schools.”
Georgia line coach Tray Scott told him the first weekend of June was when all the Georgia boys planned to take their officials.
“So I figured that I might as well,” Greene said.
He knows the most about South Carolina here. He’s been there the most. LSU has the most mystery among these four schools for him. He’s only been to Baton Rouge once up to this point.
Look for him to make his decision in mid-to-late July. Preferably before school starts up for his senior year.
“I’m not trying to worry about that during the season,” he said. “Coaches hitting me up and stuff. I’m just trying to lock in.”
What will decide it?
“All of them are like close in every category for me,” Greene said. “There’s not like a huge difference between these schools. Maybe just like how many guys they have in their rooms that might decide it. Maybe. But other than that, I think it will just come down to a gut feeling.”
It’s funny. These schools here that comprise his final four have all said they are losing a lot of guys after next season. That’s just standard procedure. No school is going to tell a kid they have room for just one more player in their room from the next class and he’s the only one they can fit in.”
Most of the schools see him as a “4i″ or a “5″ technique. Those players are becoming harder to find in college football, including at the University of Georgia.
He said these schools are still very bunched in. If they were all running a 40-yard dash together, they would be 0.1 seconds within one another.
“Honestly that’s the only reason I haven’t made my decision yet,” Greene said. “They are all so close in my head. There’s really not an obvious choice here yet.”
Justin Greene: How did he transform his body like that?
He looks like a “5″ or a “4i” technique in college. The Bears play a tight front that the coaches at UGA will call their “Mint” front. He plays those two positions for Mountain View.
“To be honest with you, he could play the ‘3′ technique,’ Poitevint said.
Let’s rewind back to January 2022. That was when Greene weighed right at 212 pounds. He got to work changing his body. He had beefed up to 245 pounds by the time spring practice rolled around.
That sort of transformation is extreme. It takes more than lifting in the morning and then most nights. It takes a lot of discipline at the dinner table, too.
To put that amount of weight on in that amount of time requires a lot of fortitude. He drank a lot of protein shakes that basically tasted like chocolate cement.
“He kept a food log of what he would eat,” Poitevint said. “That was more early on what he had to write down. Now he knows his body. He knows the calories he is putting in and all that.”
Greene played at about 245 pounds last year. He’s now stacked another 15-20 pounds onto his frame since last season.
“I could beat guys with speed, but when it came to stopping the run or beating a double team I didn’t have the power I needed to continually do that,” Greene said. “So I put in the work. I was in the weight room the whole off-season and just eating anything and everything I could to put the weight on.”
That’s what blew the minds of coaches when they came through this January. There was one coach that gave him a very early offer when he was still 215 pounds. That same recruiter came back this winter and offered him again.
“Normally a kid would be like ‘Oh you didn’t know you offered me’ and ‘You don’t know who I am’ and all that and dismiss that coach,” Poitevint said. “Not Justin. He’s an even-keel kid. He’d win the lottery and be even keel. He and that coach are still tight. To this day. It was no problem for him.”
“That just goes to show you that Justin got a different thing about him.”
That college assistant wasn’t aware that they offered him the previous year. That’s understandable given the transformation.
To be honest, that’s when Georgia really dialed in on Greene. He wasn’t a candidate to be a ‘Dawg at 212 or even 245 pounds, but he picked up the offer just earlier this year.
The way he looks now is a very different story. The Bears hope to play him at around 260 pounds this fall.
There was a moment this winter at the Under All-American camp that stood out here with Greene. A family member called him out when he was up in the 1-on-1s. The message was loud and clear. He wanted folks to know who he was. He trained for that opportunity.
That loud voice that called out was his Dad.
The moment was upon him to show the nation what he could do. Greene won all those reps. Driving home that sentiment with an exclamation point.
The strength totals are all here for this prospect. He’s about 345 pounds on the bench press and well over 500 on the squat. He’s also power cleaning north of 300 pounds.
“I don’t have a backstory with football,” Greene said “I didn’t get bullied or anything. Or use that to channel my aggression. I just like playing football. I like being good at it. I want to be better than everyone I play against.”
But there is a slight backstory with his No. 95. It also shows a unique side to this young man.
“I honestly don’t remember why I got the 95,” Greene said. “But I like [NFL All-Pro DE] Myles Garrett. He wears No. 95. There’s someone else there, but I like No. 95. ‘Lightning McQueen’ has it, too. That’s a good reason.”
“Cars was my thing. I think I had Cars blankets actually.”
Just wait for it. He might take down a quarterback and yell out “Ka-Chow” on his way back to the huddle.
“Getting a tackle or making a play makes the game fun,” Greene said. “But also a lot of time it is seeing your teammate make the play that makes it real fun. Maybe you took on the extra defender. Maybe it was a stunt, but I really like seeing my other d-linemen eat, too.”
That’s just Greene here. He’s different.
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