Green’s Puzzling Transfer
It's not surprising to see a player or two transfer after the completion of spring football. Often, a player's rank in the pecking order becomes clear and it may become apparent that someone else is likely to get more playing time at their position. But if you were told a player was going to transfer and asked to predict which one, chances are you wouldn't have thought of Aaron Green. Comments made by Green's father do little to shed light on the reasons, other than "he's not happy".
The Near Term Future
Last season made it very clear that Rex Burkhead was going to get the lion share of the meaningful reps at running back this fall. If there was a clear #2 behind Burkhead, it was Ameer Abdullah. Abdullah had the next most carries behind Burkhead at running back in 2011. Of course, Taylor Martinez takes a lot of carries as well. So Green was looking at the being the likely fourth option in 2012 running the football. He was actually the fifth option in 2011, with Braylon Heard also getting one more carry than he did. It's possible that he also saw enough out of Mike Marrow in practice to believe that Marrow could steal a good amount of carries, though Husker fullbacks haven't gotten many touches in recent years. It's fair to say that Green didn't dream of being a fourth or fifth option out of high school, but with a transfer he spends a year as a non-option as he'll be required to redshirt.
2013 and Beyond
Rex Burkhead departs after the 2012 season which would free up about 20 carries a game for other players. Maybe Green saw most of those carries going to Abdullah, but does he really think he wouldn't have to compete for carries at another school? Green's father did mention that Aaron didn't think he fit in the system. Perhaps Green wasn't crazy about the zone read. Or maybe the talk about more passing by Nebraska was for real.
On Green's list of possible transfer destinations was Oklahoma, which already has a number of four-star options at running back. Ironically, they had a five-star runner of their own decide transfer to Texas A&M this offseason. Green would seem to be in a better position to compete at TCU, Baylor, or Houston, which were all schools he was said to be considering. Texas Tech was also on his list.
What's it Mean for Nebraska?
In 2012, you might hardly notice that Green's gone. In 2013, he might have risen to be the second option at running back (though still also behind Martinez for carries). In 2014, things might really have changed depending upon the running abilities of Martinez's successor at quarterback. But to young people sometimes, 2014 may as well be 2040. Green's father had said that Aaron's not a very patient person. One memorable highlight of the 2011 season, showed Green getting visibly upset when he was wide open on a pass route with no one behind him only to see Martinez hit Quincy Enunwa for a touchdown on the same play.
Braylon Heard may be asked to return to running back from cornerback. Imani Cross is probably that much more likely not to redshirt. Marrow may see more carries. And we might see a greater effort to recruit running backs this season. This might open the door for Nebraska to bring in their own transfer either from another major program or junior college.
It's easy to get high hopes when you see a five star player recruit come into your program. In the end, mentality always seems to trump ability. Green clearly lacked the determination to make things work out at Nebraska. He might well emerge as a standout at another program. But often the same kinds of perceived obstacles that were insurmountable in one place, appear at the new destination. You'd love to see Green tough it out at Nebraska. For his sake, you hope he comes to realize it will be worth doing at the next school.