Senior linebacker’s long road to Utah State paying off for Aggies

LOGAN, Utah – Torrey Green’s road to Utah State was a long and difficult one. But the journey proved to be well worth it.

“I don’t know if a lot of people know this, but I came here as a walk-on,” Green explained. “It’s been a great experience and it was the best decision of my life to come here. It was a struggle to get here, but God provided a way and I walked on. I earned a scholarship last year and just made my way on the field.”

By the way he’s playing these days, it will be hard for the Aggies’ coaching staff to get the 6-foot-2, 235-pound senior linebacker off the field.

In Utah State’s non-conference game at Washington on Sept. 19, Green recorded seven tackles against the Huskies, including 3.0 tackles for loss, both of which were career bests.

“It was a good feeling,” Green said of his career outing. “I had a bad game (the week before) against Utah and coach just told me, ‘You’ve got to start making plays. Coach (Matt) Wells says that all the time, that practice is a big reflection of how you play, so I just focused and practiced as hard as I could and got in the film room more and studied.

“I was fortunate to have a good game like that” Green continued. “Hopefully, I have more games like that. I just want to keep doing what I have to do to help the team, whether it’s on special teams or defense, it doesn’t matter.”

Green is an explosive and fast player who excels against the pass. He is very productive on third downs, which allows first-year defensive coordinator Kevin Clune to use Green in a lot of different ways.

“He’ll blitz, he’ll cover and he’ll do some things that may go unnoticed,” Clune said. “He finds ways to be productive in those hidden roles.”

In Utah State’s home and season opener against Southern Utah on Sept. 3, the native of Rubidoux, Calif., returned a blocked extra point for a two-point conversion as the Aggies rallied for a 12-9 win.

Prior to Utah State, Green earned all-league honors as a safety at Rubidoux High School after recording 78 tackles, three pass breakups, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries during his senior season. On the offensive side of the ball, Green rushed for 858 yards and 10 touchdowns on 123 carries, averaging 6.98 yards per carry. He also caught two passes for 39 yards and another score, to go along with 10 kickoff returns for 237 yards and one touchdown.

Despite that, and despite the fact he was selected as a starter in the annual Riverside-San Bernardino All-Star Game, no offers came Green’s way.

“Nobody really knew about me,” Green said. “I went to the all-star game and just kept fighting and fighting, kept trying to get in somewhere.”

Still, nothing came. Fortunately for Green, fate finally got in the way when he ran into former Utah State linebacker John Hill, who was seriously injured during his freshman season in 1981 and was physically unable to play football again but stayed on scholarship and acted as a student assistant coach for the Aggies.

Green said Hill introduced him to Ross Peterson, who held a variety of positions during his time at Utah State, including History Department Chair and director of the Mountain West Center for Regional Studies.

Because of that introduction to Peterson, Green said he was able to apply and receive a scholarship to pay for his schooling. With that taken care of, he walked on to the team.

“Everything happened for a reason and God had a plan for me,” Green said. “I just kept trusting in Him and believing that I was going to go somewhere.”

The Aggies are certainly glad Green found his way to Logan, Utah.

“He started as a walk-on that nobody had ever heard of and he came in and was able to find a way on the team and help the team, and then blossomed last year into the roles that he played then and is playing now,” Clune said. “He’s like a lot of the other good walk-ons that we’ve had and you could list another dozen names like Zach Vigil, Jake Doughty and B.J. Larsen. All those guys have found a way to push themselves, develop themselves and become producers for this defense.”

Green was a safety during his first season with the Aggies, but former head coach Gary Andersen switched him to linebacker in the spring of 2012.

“Coach A was just like, ‘Let’s check you out at linebacker,’” Green recalled. “I asked him, ‘Coach, can I move back?’ He said, ‘Nope. You’re at linebacker.’ So, ever since then, I just had to learn how to play linebacker. I learned the defense and it’s been amazing.”

Green also excels off the field, especially when it comes to playing music, specifically the saxophone.

“I started when I was in third grade playing the saxophone,” Green said. “I play all three saxophones. I love music and a lot of people know me as an old school musician because that’s all I really play, is old school stuff.”

Green also earned two letters in track & field and one in basketball at Rubidoux HS, where he was a National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete and a member of the Honor Roll.

Green comes from an extremely large family as he has seven sisters and three brothers.

“I couldn’t ask for anything better, just growing up with that many siblings and having both parents in the house,” he said. “They were there for me every step of the way. I used to work with my dad when I was younger. I loved it and I would never take that back. That was amazing.”

Learning the value of hard work at any early age continues to pay off for Green these days.

“He’s a great kid and a great ambassador for the team,” Clune said. “I haven’t had one issue with him here in Logan. He’s a guy that had to work hard to earn that scholarship when there’s a lot of life issues that can get in the way, but he found a way through all that and was able to be successful here.”

The future appears to be a bright one for Green, who would love to continue playing football at the next level. But if that doesn’t pan out, he will always have his degree.

“If I get the chance to go to the next level, if it’s God’s will, then I’m going to do that,” Green said. “If not, we’ll see what happens. I do want to be a journalist one day and end up on CNN or something like that, maybe have my own TV show. I also want to do whatever I can to go back to Rubidoux and help the community.”

Green, who is majoring in journalism and on track to graduate in the spring of 2016, made it a point to thank Ross and Kay Peterson, as well as Mark and Diane Weese, for the hospitality both families showed him when he arrived in Logan.

-USU-

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