High school football: Green planning to do big things at ECSU

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 31, 2022

By Mike London

SALISBURY — Chris Green is conspicuous at Salisbury High track and field practice, not so much because of his colorful apparel choices, but because of his imposing size.

SHS track coach Todd Parker calls the big kid “CG,” and gushes about what a great guy he is.

That’s a good thing. If Green was mean, he could hurt some people.

Up close, most high school athletes prove to be shorter and lighter than their generously listed dimensions on the roster sheet, but Green actually appears larger than the 6-foot-3, 260 pounds he usually gets credit for. He looks to be every bit of the 6-foot-3, more than the 260.

It’s well-distributed weight for a high school athlete, but with the frame he has, it’s not hard to visualize Green getting thicker in the chest and shoulders in a college football program. It’s not hard to see him playing a lot on the offensive line for Elizabeth City State University, the Division II HBCU school that he picked out of a half-dozen or so offers.

Green announced a verbal commitment to the Vikings and newly hired head coach Marcus Hilliard in late January and made things official not longer after that.

If “Vikings” seems like an odd choice of nicknames for an HBCU school, the story goes that Elizabeth City State was once known as the Pirates. When Elizabeth City State  sought membership in the CIAA back in the 1960s, the CIAA already had the Hampton University Pirates, so ECSU was told to pick something else. The school still wanted a nickname connected with ships and the sea. Vikings got the nod.

Green had offers to travel as far away as Missouri, but he chose to stay in the state for college and football, albeit at a place that is about as far north and east as you can go without exiting North Carolina. The Norfolk/Virginia Beach area is only about an hour away.

“When I visited Elizabeth City, I felt this great family vibe from players and coaches,” Green said. “That’s exactly what I was looking for. I wanted that same atmosphere that we had at Salisbury.”

As a junior, Green was still figuring things out.

As a senior, he established himself at left guard and became the leader of Salisbury’s rebuilt offensive line, which exceeded all expectations.

There was a simple plan for that 0-line — get better each week and go 1-0 each week. Green led the way.

He was a tractor, a mauler, a dominant blocker at the point of attack. In a 12-game season, Salisbury quarterback Mike Geter and running back JyMikaah Wells put up crazy numbers and accounted for 66 touchdowns. Green was an important part of their success. He didn’t go unnoticed. For an offensive lineman, he was almost famous. He made some 2A All-State squads.

“He matured so much in the last year,” Salisbury head coach Brian Hinson said. “He played with intensity. He played with a little bit of violence on Friday nights, and that’s a good thing.”

While Green possesses size and strength, the biggest thing he has going for him are his feet. He’s surprisingly agile and flexible. He’s convinced his future is on offense, but his feet are so nimble that he could wind up on the defensive line someday.

While Green’s football came a long way in the past year, so did his academics.

“I’ve got a 3.4 GPA now,” Green said. “I didn’t do track last season because I wanted to focus on schoolwork. But now I’m back for a last fling at track.”

He means that quite literally. As one of the Hornets’ throwers, he flings the discus and powers the shot for respectable distances.

He plans to major in psychology at ECSU, and he realizes that summer and his introduction to college football practices aren’t far away.

Elizabeth City State has announced a 10-game football schedule for 2022 — all against fellow HBCUs.

The most intriguing game for Green is the early-season contest with Livingstone, the school that’s a few blocks away from Salisbury High.

That game will be played at Rocky Mount on Sept. 10 in what is billed as the Down East Viking Classic.