football Edit

On and off the field, Green relies on his work ethic

MORE HEADLINES - Spring camp preview: Open jobs | Spring camp preview: Who's under pressure? | Spring camp preview: The storylines | 10 thoughts on Stallings, Narduzzi and more | Film review: What does grad transfer OL Stefano Millin bring to Pitt?

On Signing Day in December, Pat Narduzzi joked that David Green had probably signed his Letter of Intent that morning and then went directly to Kennywood to hang up Christmas decorations.

Narduzzi wasn’t right on all the details - Green said he “signed and went back to bed” - but the Central Catholic defensive tackle worked at the amusement park. He wasn’t on the decorations duty, though.

“I was the photographer and a salesman selling the pictures to people,” Green told Panther-Lair.com recently. “I would work near the entrance take family photos. Some people thought it was weird - ‘Who is this guy taking my picture?’ - but I liked doing it. I liked talking to people and all of that.

“It wasn’t easy, though. I would get done with football practice, take a quick shower and then go to work in the heat and be real sore.”

That’s how Green spent his summer, and that work ethic was attractive to Narduzzi and the Pitt staff.

“He’s one of those blue-collar Pittsburgh kids that is a worker,” Narduzzi said in December.

But Green isn’t just a western Pennsylvania cliché. He didn’t just put his head down and his hand in the dirt for Central Catholic last season; on the contrary, Green rose up, positioning himself as one of the Vikings’ leaders.

“My biggest goal for the season was that I just wanted to be a mentor, a coach, a leader to the young guys,” he said. “I knew we had a lot of young kids coming up, kids that hadn’t been to Hershey before, kids that hadn’t been to Heinz Field before, and I wanted to help them get ready for the journey.”

Central Catholic’s Green-led journey in the fall of 2017 saw the Vikings get off to a 4-2 start before rattling off six consecutive wins to put themselves in the WPIAL Class 6A championship game at Heinz Field. There, they ran into the buzz saw that was Pine-Richland, and for the second time in the season, the Rams got the better of the Vikings, throttling Central to the tune of a 42-7 final score.

Green has one more high school game left, though. Last month, he was announced as a participant in the 2018 Big 33 Football Classic.

“It was an honor,” he said. “I was really excited about it to be able to play another high school game before I went to college. I always thought it would be great to play in.”

Once he’s done with the Big 33, Green will be moving on to college. He has been building a relationship with defensive line coach Charlie Partridge since Partridge was hired last February, and now he’s looking forward to working together.

“Our relationship is good,” Green said. “We communicate every week, just to see how everything is going. He always asks me if I’m ready and I always tell him I’m ready. We got real close over the past year and I’m really excited about working with him.

“Rashad Wheeler is down there, and in talking to him, he says Coach Partridge knows what he’s talking about. He says he’s really the real deal. He says he just knows everything about being a great D-lineman and a great player. I look at it like, I could learn a lot from him in my craft and he can help get me to the next level.”

When Green took his official visit to Pitt in January, he also got to meet the Panthers’ new defensive coordinator, Randy Bates.

“I was impressed with him; he knows what he’s talking about,” Green said. “When I got there on my official visit, they had a lift that morning and that was his first day on the job; they said he walked into the lift and was real hyped up. I think he brings a lot to the table, and he knows what he’s talking about. I’m excited.”

Green was also excited about how Pitt finished the 2017 season with an upset of then-undefeated Miami at Heinz Field. For Green, that was a fitting end to a season that had been challenging for his future team.

“Seeing them this year, I see it as like, a rebuilding year, really,” he said. “At the beginning of the year, they were young but they just kept progressing throughout the whole year, getting better and better, and I think that what we saw at the end of the year against Miami is what they are: they’re ready for big-time football.

“They did it to Clemson and I was hoping they’d get another one against Miami. When they did, I was really excited for the guys.”

Soon enough, Green will be joining those players on the sideline. He said he’s added 20 pounds of muscle since the start of the season, checking in at 6’1” and 270 pounds, which is a good weight for him to take to Pitt this summer.

“They see me not as a nose guard but a three-technique, stunting and moving around, hitting holes, making plays,” Green said. “They say it all depends on me. They say, am I ready? When the time comes, will I be ready? If I’m ready, they’ll give me a shot. It’s on me and my work ethic.”