TAMPA — Tampa Catholic rising senior offensive tackle Chaz Green still has plenty to learn on the football field.
He didn't play a full game last season until mid October because of a high ankle sprain. And he had never even stepped on a field until two years ago.
"I haven't played a whole lot," Green said with a smile.
Now, the 6-foot-6, 295-pounder is one of the most prized offensive line recruits in the country, with high-profile schools such as Florida, Florida State, Southern Cal, Georgia and Ohio State offering scholarships.
"His rise has been meteoric," Tampa Catholic coach Bob Henriquez said.
It wasn't long ago, however, that Green considered himself a basketball player.
"It took for me to stop growing," Green said. "I cut off at 6-6. A couple of my friends said I'd have a good body for football, and I just thought I should try more sports."
Green transferred to Tampa Catholic from Palm Harbor University before his junior season.
And Henriquez saw promise from the start.
When Green joined the Crusaders, he was 258 pounds and played defensive tackle, defensive end and tight end. But Henriquez knew he could grow and believed his best chance to play in college would be at tackle.
"Before last year, I told him he'd be 290 by the spring," Henriquez said.
He's now the 21st-best offensive tackle prospect in the country, according to Rivals.com.
It's hard to believe Green never played football until his sophomore year, but Green and Henriquez agree his basketball experience has helped him adjust to tackle quickly. Pass protection, Henriquez said, involves the same skills — feet positioning, using hands and being quick to a spot — as playing defense in the pivot.
"I've always had quick feet. That helps me," Green said.
Henriquez points to one play on Green's highlight film in which he spins through a double team and quickly takes on a linebacker to open a hole for the running back.
"That's all a lot of the college coaches need to see," Henriquez said. "There are some things you can teach but other things that come naturally. He just has a great feel for it."
And that's what makes Green and his Crusaders teammate, quarterback Christian Green (no relation), the area's most recruited duo.
Chaz Green currently lists Florida as his favorite but wants to visit Southern Cal, Ohio State and Georgia before making up his mind.
"There's a massive upside with him," Henriquez said. "I've told him that the potential is there, but potential means you haven't done anything yet. I'm excited to see what he can do if he stays healthy and plays a full season."