Westover star defensive lineman Chris Green, center, poses for a photo with his mother, Malika Norwood, left, and his stepfather, Kevin Norwood, after signing with Division II Lenoir Rhyne on Friday. (Westover High School/Special to The Herald)
ALBANY — Ask any coach whose team played Westover last fall, and they’ll tell you Chris Green was the best defensive lineman they faced.
Green was not only the Region 1-AAA Defensive Player of the Year, but he was a finalist for The Herald’s Player of the Year.
He signed with Lenoir Rhyne University on Friday, ending a long offseason that saw many schools back off giving the talented defensive tackle a scholarship after Green had two offseason intestinal surgeries to repair bowel obstruction.
The surgeries were not football related, but they affected the recruiting process because Green was considered a Division I prospect. He eventually signed with Lenoir Rhyne, a Division II school in Hickory N.C., because Lenoir Rhyne stuck with him through the surgeries.
Green was arguably the best defensive lineman in Southwest Georgia.
“He was definitely the heart and soul of our defense,’’ Westover coach Octavia Jones said. “He made it easier for the people behind him (in the defense), because he was always getting double-teamed.
All the kids looked up to him. He was a leader on the field, in the weight room and off the field. All the younger players looked up to him and tried to be like him. He is the standard at Westover. That’s the standard all defensive tackles have to live up to. They have to live up to be Chris.‘’
That’s what they say at Westover, where Green helped change the mentality of the program over the past two seasons.
He had 87 tackles, including 16 for losses and six sacks last season, but what is most remarkable about his numbers is that every team double and triple-teamed him, and every team that played Westover had to have a gameplan to try to stop Green.