Sherwood star running back Mack “M.J.” Green, center, poses for a photo shortly after signing with Olivet Nazarene — a NAIA program in Illinois — during a ceremony at the school Thursday. Green is joined by his father, Mack Green Sr., and mother, Tracy Tyler. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
ALBANY — It’s not his nickname, but the two words Sherwood Christian Academy football coach Otis Covington uses to describe Mack “M.J.” Green Jr., are as good as any.
“He’s instant offense,’’ Covington said.
Green can fly.
And now he’s flying off to Olivet Nazerene University, an NAIA school in Bourbonnais, Ill., about 50 miles south of Chicago.
Green, who talked to three other schools, signed a letter-of-intent to accept a football scholarship to Olivet on Thursday afternoon in the SCA library, where a large group students watched a highlight film of the Sherwood running back and then applauded the signing.
“I was sitting at home one day and the coach (from Olivet) called me,’’ said Green, who also talked to small colleges in Kentucky and Kansas, as well as Point University in LaGrange. “I prayed every day and asked God to point me to the best place to go. They really wanted me, and I liked the school.’’
Green, who will major in business administration, was all smiles Thursday as his mother, Tracy Tyler, and his father, Mack Green Sr., sat by his side.
Green could become an instant star in the NAIA.
He has explosive speed and was recently clocked at 4.39 in the 40-yard dash at a workout. He also knows how to run to daylight, and made the most of every carry this past season at Sherwood, where he averaged 19.7 yards every time he touched the ball. He was hampered by an ankle injury and wasn’t 100 percent until the final four games of the season, and yet he still finished with 849 yards. He gained more than 1,900 yards and scored 23 touchdowns during his final two seasons at Sherwood.
“He’s got blazing speed,’’ Covington said. “He can change a game instantly, and he’s a great kid and a great student. He had a great career here.’’