Garrett Greene is not going to be West Virginia’s starting quarterback to start this season, in fact he was never even really in the competition. And yet whenever WVU head coach Neal Brown talked about which quarterback was impressing him during training camp, Greene’s name almost always came up.
“I’m fired up about Garrett Greene,” Brown said after practice one day. “I like the way he plays, I like the way he carries himself.”
As a true freshman, Greene was not in the competition to be WVU’s starter this season. That battle was between senior Austin Kendall and junior Jarret Doege, the eventual winner. Greene’s time to shine at WVU might not be this season, but Brown is certain his time will come.
“You know how you can take those future bets?” Brown asked. “He’s a guy you take the future bet on at some point. Is his time right now? Probably not but I like the way he plays.”
— WVU Football (@WVUfootball) August 30, 2020
Kevin Pettis – Greene’s coach at Lawton Chiles High School in Tallahassee, Florida – said he was not surprised Greene has been able to impress his college coaches already, the exact opposite in fact.
“If he isn’t the starter by week three, I’m going to be surprised,” Pettis told WVSN. “That’s just the type of kid he is.”
Greene threw for 1,155 yards and seven touchdowns and ran for 930 yards and 15 more touchdowns as a senior at Lawton Chiles last season. In Pettis’ eyes, there is one thing that sets Greene apart from any other player he’s coached and any other quarterback on WVU’s roster – Greene’s unyielding competitiveness.
“Here’s the thing about a true competitor,” Pettis explained. “They don’t just compete at the sport in which they’re playing, they compete at everything. That cat’s going to compete with you in the classroom, if Neal says ‘hey we need 100 service hours from you guys’, he’s going to be the first one to get 100 service hours. I don’t know that he loves to be the best, he loves to beat people.”
Pettis said the perfect example of his competitiveness is when Greene had a walk-off steal of home plate during a baseball game in high school.
Had to send the seniors off right, stole home for the walkoff pic.twitter.com/g8x43v78LS
— Garrett Greene (@garrett3greene) May 3, 2019
In 20 years of being a head coach, Pettis said he’s never seen another player like Greene.
“I’ve coached eight or nine kids that have made NFL rosters…this kid here is as good as I’ve ever coached,” Pettis said. “Garrett, he’s as good as advertised, I promise you.”
If Greene is as good as Pettis says then it begs the question, how did Florida State let Greene get out of its own back yard in Tallahassee?
The answer is, Neal Brown simply got to him first. Brown was the first coach to offer Greene a scholarship, while he was still the head coach at Troy.
“Neal Brown got in contact with him when that sucker was a sophomore and (Brown) was at Troy,” Pettis said. “(Greene) loved coach Brown…he wanted to go a little bit bigger than Troy but he was about to commit to Troy. Then coach Brown went to West Virginia then it was a lock.”
Greene committed to WVU in March of 2019, just two months after Brown was hired to be the Mountaineers’ head coach. Pettis said other schools, including Florida State, eventually got in on Greene, but his mind was already made up.
“He ended up getting everybody in the world trying to get him to come,” Pettis said. “But like he told the guy from Stanford…’I told them people at West Virginia I’m going to come play for them and I’m going to come play for them’. There’s a lot to be said for that.”
At the end of his recruitment, Greene had scholarship offers from Florida International, Georgia Tech, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, South Alabama, TCU, Temple, Troy, Alabama Birmingham and South Florida and turned them all down to come to WVU with Brown.
“I’ve known the kid for a long time,” Brown said of Greene during training camp. “The way he competes is special, his leadership capabilities are special and to see his progression probably over the last three years as a quarterback it’s been fun to watch and see just how much upside he has.”
“There’s really no situation that’s too big,” Pettis said. “There’s never going to be a moment that’s too big for Garrett, never. A lot of times kids get caught up in the lights and the big-time games and all those kind of things, there’s never been a moment that I’ve seen that’s too big and it’s because of his competitiveness. Because he looks at every single play as a chance to beat you.”
The Mountaineers are set to open the 2020 season Saturday against the Eastern Kentucky Colonels. Kickoff is at noon and the game will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1. WVU’s week three opponent is the Baylor Bears on Oct. 3, just in case anyone wants to watch out for Pettis’ prediction.