By Brendan Sonnone
TALLAHASSEE - If it feels like receiver Christian Green has been around forever, that's because he has. At least by football standards, Green is ancient.
A touted prospect out of Tampa Catholic High, the 6-foot-2, 204-pound Green was part of coach Jimbo Fisher's first recruiting class in 2010. For five years, Green has been an enigmatic part of the team. He redshirted his first year on campus, contributed with 450 receiving yards as a freshman, then played sparingly the past two seasons.
Green caught his first touchdown in 45 games with the Seminoles in Saturday's win against N.C. State, bringing attention to what an interesting yet unspectacular career he has had. Although he hasn't put up huge numbers, Green has brought value to the program because of his willingness to adapt to different roles. He has embraced being a mentor to younger receivers this season, has developed a reputation as a solid blocker and is proving he's still good for the occasional big play.
There are few players who are as steady as the man they call "Pops."
Among a group of receivers who have interesting nicknames - Kermit (Levonte Whitfield), Bobo (Jesus Wilson), Scooter (Jarred Haggins) and Pig (Ja'Vonn Harrison) - Green's is maybe the most fitting.
With a receding hairline and mature demeanor, Green, 22, simply emits the vibe of a grandfather. Teammate Bert Reed noticed that right away when Green was a freshman and the nickname stuck.
"My freshman year he said, 'You look older than what you are,' and it came out as 'Pops,'" Green said. "Ever since then, Bert likes to talk, you guys know Bert, so he said that and then everyone else started saying that. That's how I came with Pops."
Green has five receptions for 113 yards this season and has surpassed half of his production from the past two years combined (190 receiving yards). Green figures to remain a contributor to FSU's passing attack, although his role might decrease as younger players such as Wilson, Travis Rudolph and Ermon Lane continue to develop the trust of quarterback Jameis Winston.
"It's different from in the past when you'd came in and didn't catch any of that," Green said. "But it's not a lot different. Like I said, just have to continue to get better every single week. That's the goal for me."
Florida: at Tennessee, noon Saturday, SEC Network
FSU: vs. Wake Forest, 3:30 Saturday, Ch. 28
Miami: at Georgia Tech, 7:30 Saturday, ESPN2