COLLEGE STATION -- Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher was asked about expectations for true freshman offensive tackle Kenyon Green at Aggie media day on Saturday.
“We’ll see,” Fisher responded. “I don’t want to put expectations on a guy because he can fail.”
But then Fisher paused – a rarity for the fast-talking championship coach – and gave the crowd of media a big smile from the podium.
“I’m just going to smile. That’s all I’m going to say. He has a chance to be a really good player.”
There’s plenty of reason for Fisher’s excitement. The 330-pound teenager from Atascocita, Green, is quickly turning heads in Aggieland. Despite not enrolling at Texas A&M until the summer, Green has pushed his way from second-team offensive tackle reps all the way up to first-team right guard reps.
The physical gifts are obvious. We rated Green as our No. 3 player in the state and No. 1 offensive lineman in the state coming out of high school. He was an Under Armor and Army All-American, not to mention a member of our Tops in Texas First Team. He had offers from everywhere in the country.
A teammate of his simply referred to him as “very strong” in the weight room. But even more than the physical gifts, Green’s early understanding of the playbook has turned heads. The quick learning helped Fisher and offensive coordinator Darrell Dickey more comfortable inserting him in place of Colton Prater.
“He’s a lot more intellectual than you’d think for a true freshman who didn’t enroll early,” quarterback Kellen Mond said. “He just got here. He’s a long way to go, but he’s been impressive so far. Having the skill level and talent to play both tackle and guard has been really special to see.”
Green played tackle for most of high school, but the Aggies are set at tackle. In order to get him on the field, the staff is experimenting with him at guard, where he won’t get exposed as much by veteran edge rushers as yet. So far, the transition has gone well.
“He’s a freshman. He doesn’t know all the plays 100 percent as yet – which no one expected him to – but every day he’s getting better at learning them,” offensive tackle Carson Green said.
Carson Green remembers getting some first-team reps when he first got on campus, and understanding just how different that game is than running reserve reps.
“They try to throw freshmen in with the ones every so often just to get that feeling, and you realize the speed changes from high school to college,” Carson Green said. “That’s where he realized it’s full speed every time. Everyone’s fighting pretty hard. He’s doing a fantastic job right now.”
The Texas A&M offensive line was a strength last season after paving the way for running back Trayveon Williams to accumulate 1,760 rushing yards. Only one member of that line is gone: center Erik McCoy. Tackles Carson Green and Dan Moore have become a strength of the team, and Green won’t play center. Regardless, he has played well enough that he might force out an incumbent.
Even if he doesn’t win a starting job, still expect to see him on the field for the Aggies this season. He’ll be the behemoth paving the way for Fisher’s offense.
“He’s fighting for a starting role, or could have a key backup role because everyone knows O-lineman get hurt during the season,” Carson Green said. “If he’s not there in a starting role, he’s still going to be an important role the whole season.”
After some time, Fisher finally gave us a little more than a smile.
“I’ve been really pleased where he’s at,” Fisher said. “He should help us dramatically this year.”