KINGSLAND - Camden County Head Coach Jeff Herron has won state titles, coached players with NFL talent, and built on of the most successful programs in the state of Georgia.
But one thing he hadn't experienced going into the 2009 season was a freshman who could start and play big minutes.
That all changed when J.J. Green, a freshman at the time, took the field for the Wildcats as a starter and has done nothing but produce for Herron and his team since.
"J.J. has been awfully good for us. There is no question," said Herron. "He is the only player I've ever had that has started since was a freshman. He started in 15 games in his freshman year at corner at the highest level in the state of Georgia. He is a special kid."
While Green is just now making his mark with many fans as a recent Georgia commit, Herron has had his eye on his three way star since well before he started attending off season workouts before his freshman year.
"I've known he was a special kid since middle school," said Herron. "I remember him standing out in middle school, and I use the comment that every game I have ever gone to that J.J. is in, he stands out. He sticks out."
In an recent interview with UGASports, Green stated that he believed he would play offensive at UGA based on his conversations with the Georgia staff.
According to Herron's interaction with the Georgia staff, playing offense is a possibility, but so is defense and regardless of position, the Camden Head Man believes that Green can do it all.
"He is a very good defensive player, a very good offensive player, and very dangerous in the return game," said Herron. "I think Georgia is getting a very good all around athlete and I don't know where he will end up. I get that question a lot, but I think he can play defense or go play offense. I think he is going to be a factor in their kicking game. He is a very elusive player. He's got a great burst of speed. He catches the ball well. He is just a natural running back. There is no question, and he is very strong. He doesn't look it with his size sometimes and people are deceived by that, but he is very strong and hard to tackle."
One thing that stands out about the three star prospect his ability to establish a physical presence on the field with big hits, solid tackling, punishing runs, and a fearless attitude.
Playing a physical brand of football, according to Herron, is something that is the centerpiece of Green's game.
"He has always been a physical kid," said Herron. "He likes being a physical defensive player. That caught people's attention more than anything he has done. Even as a freshman he would just come up and be a really physical and intimidating corner."
Despite his ability as a football player for the Wildcats, Herron will be the first to acknowledge that the best part about Green's game is his overall attitude toward the game of football.
"He is a great kid and always has a smile on his face," said Herron. "He loves talking on the field. That is just him. We always kid with him by telling him that no one understands what he is saying because he talks so much, but he does it in the right way. He is a very playful kid, but also a physical player."
One quality that is often overlooked with evaluating prospects is their knowledge of the game and ability to wade through the complexity and more intricate aspects of the game at the college level.
Herron, however, has no doubt that Green has a football mind to go along with his skills between the lines.
"He has been a football player all his life. Some kids play other sports and stuff, but J.J. has always been a football player," said Herron. "His uncle Donald coaches for us, and does a great job, and J.J. started as a ball boy for us. He would come in the office here and hang out with us and sleep under the desk while we graded film and stuff like that. He has been around and is a gym rat. He has been around it all his life."
In the last three years, Herron will admit that he has seen great things out of Green, but in 2012, the Camden Head Coach knows he will need even greater effort and focus from his senior leaders if the Wildcats are want to find themselves on top of Region 1AAAAAA that includes Coffee, Lowndes, Valdosta, Brunswick, Colquitt, and Tift.
"We you have players of that caliber, you expect them to play at that level," said Herron. "They are going to have to get focused on their senior year of high school and not what comes after. When you are a high profile, visible, and recruitable kid, you have to lead on the field because the other players are going to follow that."
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