Football Preview 2017: Greene ready to make most of final senior year for Dukes

HARRISONBURG — It’s not often a football player gets a second chance at a senior year, but that’s what James Madison University’s Raven Greene has. And he wants to make the most of it.

The redshirt senior safety was awarded a medical waiver last year due to a broken leg he suffered in his second year at JMU. The waiver, which was approved by the NCAA, allowed him to have one more year of eligibility with the Dukes.

“It’s like nothing else,” Greene said of being given the medical redshirt. “I literally just got a whole nother year to be around these great guys and just have this camaraderie and just build the team work with the guys. They are my brothers. We’ve been together for five years now. Guys like Kyre Hawkins, Jordan Brown, Simeyon Robinson. Even the transfers. Ish (Hyman) came in, A.J. (Bolden). We’ve really bonded a lot throughout the process. And I can say that they’re one of the main reasons why I came back and I’m glad to be here sharing this moment. And hopefully go out and have a great season.”

JMU defensive coordinator and safeties coach Bob Trott said Greene mentioned in a team meeting last year that he had been injured and could get a medical waiver. The team then decided to pursue it and was awarded the waiver in November.

Trott, who is in his second year at JMU, said he’s very happy to have him back for another year.

“He’s been a dream to coach the whole time,” Trott said. “He bought into what we were doing. He had a great year last year. He made some plays, and he’s smart football player. I’m glad he’s back.”

Greene, who is from Virginia Beach and played at First Colonial High School, said the process of coming back after his broken leg wasn’t too bad because of the support he had from his teammates.

“We had some young guys step up and take my place, and I was really proud of the way they went out and played,” Greene said. “As far as everybody supporting me, all my teammates just rallied around me. And they made me still feel like I was really, really within the team and all that. It was a great learning lesson to say the least.”

Greene was recruited as a cornerback, but switched to safety in his freshman season. He said he enjoys playing safety.

He said that he learned a lot from the older players, especially JMU graduate Dean Marlowe. Marlowe plays in the National Football League for the Carolina Panthers.

“Dean Marlowe really showed me a lot while he was here, as far as just me leading by example and things of that nature,” Greene said. “And I see where it got him. He’s a great guy.”

Last season Greene had his best season yet. He led the Dukes with six interceptions to help lead them to the Football Championship Subdivision national title.

Greene said his favorite memory on defense was his interception against Villanova University. The Dukes won the game, 20-7, despite starting quarterback Bryan Schor going out of the game with an injury to start the second quarter. The defense stepped up, including Greene with his interception.

“It just happened so fast,” Greene said of the interception. “It was off a tipped ball. It was just a crazy play. That whole game was crazy. I remember (former JMU defensive lineman) Martez (Stone) catching that interception and just seeing him light up when he went (to the sidelines) and so excited about it. He was a great guy, so he deserved every bit of that.”

Greene said last year was a very memorable and special year. He said his favorite memory from the national championship game was hugging his father after the game and sharing the moment with him.

“He’s actually never missed a game throughout my entire career here,” Green said. “As far back as my freshman year. He went up to New Hampshire on his birthday to be in, I think it was 16 degrees minus the wind chill. He’s never missed a game. He came to Fargo (North Dakota). He’s just a great guy. And I’m glad to have him be a road warrior again this year. It should be fun.”

Greene will be looking to lead the way for the Dukes again this season. He said he hasn’t thought about his NFL prospects, and instead he just wants to stay focused on this year’s team in the extra season he was given.

“I’m in the here and now,” Greene said. “So I’m going to enjoy these moments while I’m here playing with my brothers here at JMU.”