It should come as no surprise that Shonn Greene, College Footballs’s 2008 Doak Walker Award winner, announced that he will be leaving Iowa and going into the NFL Draft next season. Greene, the Big Ten MVP, who capped a brilliant season by rushing for 121 yards and three touchdowns against South Carolina in the 2009 Outback Bowl, will be forfeiting his Senior year of college football eligibility to go try his luck with the pros.
Greene’s remarkable 2008 season came after the Junior Running Back missed the entire 2007 season while working on improving his grades to get himself back on the Iowa Hawkeyes football team. That on the heels of rather undistinguished Freshman and Sophomore seasons at Iowa, in which he gained all of 378 yards on the ground on 69 carries, makes Greene’s 2008 season even more remarkable. In 2008, the bulky 5-11, 235 lbs runner, carried the ball 308 times for 1,860 yards and 20 touchdowns. Along the way, Greene chalked up 13 straight games of 100 or more rushing yards, and scored against every team he faced with the exception of Michigan State.
Twice during the year, Greene broke the 200 yard plateau in a game, his career high of 217 yards coming against Conference rival Wisconsin. In Iowa’s 38-16 victory against the Badgers, Greene broke runs of 52, 34, 34 and 12 yards for touchdowns, becoming the first Hawkeye player to rush for four touchdowns in a game since 1997.
Yet Greene’s breakout season should not come as a complete surprise, after all, the hard nose Running Back enjoyed an outstanding high school football career in New Jersey, rushing for over 4,200 yards and 43 touchdowns prior to his days at Iowa.
Still, not one to make a brash decision, Greene has had his potential draft status reviewed by an NFL advisory group, and has taken into account advice from family as well. Though to Greene the decision is a bit of a no-brainer, with the Iowa star expressing that anyone in his position would be doing the same.
Where Greene will go in the 2009 NFL Entry Draft remains to be seen. Greene is a powerfully built runner who is hard to bring down on first contact. Penn State’s Joe Paterno went as far as comparing him to NCAA and NFL great Lydell Mitchell. Unlike Lydell, who led the NFL in pass receptions twice while coming out of the backfield for the Baltimore Colts, Greene has yet to show the ability to be an effective receiver at the next level. If Greene runs better than a 4.5 during the NFL Combine look for him to go in the late first or early second round of the Draft. If he runs a time in the 4.55 to 4.6 range, look for him to fall to towards the third or fourth round of the Draft.
1) “Greene Tells KCCI He’s Leaving For NFL,” www.kcci.com
2) “JoePa has high praise for Iowa’s Shonn Greene,” www.readingeagle.com