By Matt Leon
LINCOLN UNIVERSITY, Pa. (CBS) — It has been four years since Lincoln University returned to game action in college football. They revived the program in 2008, after a 48-year hiatus.
Since then, the program has made strides, and recently one Lion earned an honor that has really put them on the map, nationally.
Junior defensive end Tim Green has been named the school’s first-ever Division II All-American.
Has it hit him how special this honor is?
“Yes it has,” he tells KYW Newsradio. “It’s given me the want to work harder and push my teammates harder.”
Hear Matt Leon’s full interview with Tim Green in this CBS Philly SportsPod…
The All-American tag is well deserved, as Green (right) has developed into one of the nation’s dominant defensive lineman. In 2011, his average of 1½ sacks per game was tops in all of Division II. He also had 23 tackles for loss, and his average of 2.30 per game was second in the country.
Green’s path is even more impressive when you consider that he came to Lincoln as a walk-on. Lions head coach OJ Abanishe talks about how Green has developed into such a special talent.
“His first year he was redshirted,” Coach Abanishe recalls. “(He) put a little weight on, put a little size on, we moved him from linebacker down to defensive end. And with the scheme that we run, our defensive ends do a lot of slanting and things like that. So he really enjoyed that, really embraced that part of our defense and just took off from there.”
Hear Matt Leon’s full interview with OJ Abanishe in this CBS Philly SportsPod…
Right-click to download OJ Abanishe podcast
Green says the move from linebacker to the defensive line wasn’t easy. Especially for a player listed at 6’1″ and 215 pounds.
“Playing linebacker, you’re like five yards away from the ball and you have chances to read. You don’t have to hit players every play. On the defensive line, you have to go against people who are twice your size — well, for me, anyway. You just have to beat them with speed, that’s what I’d have to do. That worked a lot this year and the coaches put me in great positions to make plays.”
And, boy, he made a lot of them. Abanishe talks about what makes Green so difficult to block.
“He’s an extremely, extremely explosive player. He benches 400-plus (pounds) and squats right around 550. The biggest attribute Tim has over most other defensive lineman is his ability to stay low to the ground. Even though he is not the tallest player in the world, he has an extremely quick ‘get-off.’ And he stays so low to the ground that he’s able to get his shoulder pads underneath offensive tackles and into the backfield.”
Green says he learned about his All-American status from his coaches at Lincoln, and the timing allowed him to share the news with someone incredibly close to his heart.
“A couple of weeks back they called me and told me I got it. As soon as they told me, I immediately started tearing up. I called my grandmother and I told her, and I dedicated my season to her. And she just passed away during Thanksgiving. So, my season is dedicated to my grandmother.”