Shonn Greene #23 RB
Height: 5-11 Weight: 233 Age: 30
Born: 8/21/1985 Sicklerville , NJ
Experience: 6th season
High School: Winslow Township HS [Atco, NJ]; Milford Acad. [CT]
Selected By: New York Jets
Pick (Overall): 1 (65)
Prior to the 2008 season, Greene knew he had his work cut out for him. Academic problems forced the bruising tailback to leave the university and enroll at Kirkwood College in 2007. When he rectified his academic standing and rejoined the Hawkeyes, he found himself listed behind Jevon Pugh, Paki O'Meara, Nate Guillory, Jeff Brinson and Jewel Hampton for the starting tailback job.
Greene not only emerged from that fierce battle as the victor, he went on to earn 2008 Big Ten Conference Offensive Player of the Year honors. He was also the recipient of the Doak Walker Award, given to the nation's top running back. He became Iowa's first consensus All-American running back since Nile Kinnick in 1939. The Chicago Tribune awarded him with the Silver Football, given to the Most Valuable Player in the Big Ten.
At Winslow Township High School, Greene was a first-team all-conference and second-team all-state choice as a senior. The previous year, he was the recipient of all-state, All-South Jersey and all-conference honors. He ended his prep career with 4,266 yards and 43 touchdowns on 503 rushing attempts (8.48 avg.).
The tailback and linebacker registered 191 tackles with one interception during his career. He carried 172 times for 1,378 yards (8.0 avg.) and 16 touchdowns as a senior and rushed for 1,267 yards and 18 touchdowns on 221 attempts (5.7 avg.) as a junior. After graduating, he spent the 2004 season at Milford Academy, where he rushed for 1,274 yards.
Greene enrolled at Iowa for the 2005 season. He appeared in 11 games as a reserve, managing just 137 yards on 37 carries (4.7 avg.) with a touchdown. He also excelled on special teams, recording five tackles (four solos). His performance with that unit almost saw the coaching staff shift him to linebacker the following year. Iowa defensive coordinator Norm Parker apparently has thought about having Greene play defense.
"He'd be an awesome linebacker; gosh would he be good," Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said of Greene. "Don't think Norm hasn't sniffed around on that one -- like from the day (Greene) walked in. But it's just not going to happen. It's kind of like (Chad) Greenway or (Jonathan) Babineaux; if you have two or three of those guys, you'd have them here, here and here. Shonn's that kind of guy. Shonn's no nonsense on the field. He works hard, and he likes playing."
Greene changed jersey numbers from 45 to 23 as a sophomore, but an ankle sprain forced him to miss three midseason contests. In nine games, he finished third on the team with 205 yards and a touchdown on 32 rushing attempts (6.4 avg.) in 2006. He grabbed three passes for 23 yards (7.7 avg.) and averaged 19.0 yards on six kickoff returns.
Primed to step into the starting lineup in 2007, Greene was ruled academically ineligible and left Iowa. He enrolled at Kirkwood College to improve his grades, but did not play football. Back with the Hawkeyes for the 2008 campaign, the All-American set the school single-season record with 1,850 yards on 307 carries (6.0 avg.), finding the end zone 20 times on the ground while scoring 120 points.
Because he would be 24 in 2009, and due to family issues, Greene decided to bypass his senior year at Iowa to enter the 2009 NFL Draft. His parents divorced early in his life. He chose to live with his grandmother, Cheryl Greene. He has a big heart with "Cheryl" tattooed in the middle of it on his neck. "She's probably the No. 1 woman in my life right now," Greene said. "She raised me. I have a lot of love for her, a lot of respect. I pretty much owe her this whole ordeal here.
"She's a great woman. I owe her the world," he stated when announcing his decision.