Shortly after the New England Patriots selected him in the fourth round of the NFL draft, former LSU defensive end Jarvis Green received a call from one-time teammate and fellow Patriot draftee Rohan Davey.
"He told me to stop following him," Green said of Davey's jocular message.
Though reunited with LSU's record-setting quarterback, Green realizes it won't be the same as before, just as college life could never recapture the enthusiasm of high school.
"I still remember my high school days and the way it was with all the fans and being the hometown hero," said Green, who played at Donaldsonville (La.) High School, located about 35 miles south of LSU.
Green participated with his brother, Jason, and first cousin, Howard. All three eventually reached LSU, although Jason later quit the team and Howard attended junior college for two years to improve his academic standing. Howard made enough of an impression in two years at LSU to have gone to the Houston Texans in the sixth round.
Jarvis' first two years at LSU were hampered by a sore back he sustained in a car wreck while in high school. He finally ended his college career free of back pain.
Jarvis was the state's Class 3A most valuable defensive player as a senior at Donaldsonville, which ran a system that made the most of his skills.
"It was a little different in high school," he said. "When I played, I could showcase my athletic ability. I remember us playing a basic defense. My senior year, we didn't blitz."
In his final season at Donaldsonville, Green collected 136 total tackles, including 103 solo stops. Donaldsonville reached the Class 3A state semifinals that year. At LSU, Green never made more than 52 tackles in a year playing in a defense that was particularly geared toward having the linebackers make the bulk of the stops his last two seasons.
"Sometimes I think of going back to high school and starting over and playing football," Green said. "It was a lot more fun. When you go to the next level, it totally changes. It's a job. People are affected by it. In college, the coaches get paid a salary, just like you get a scholarship."
A return to the past is not possible, of course, so Green has tried to make the best of the situation.
"I've always wanted to play in the NFL since I began playing football," he said. "It's a dream come alive."
Still, it's not the same as in high school when pep rallies and school spirit were part of everyday life.
"I remember football off the field" at Donaldsonville, Green said. "After each class, we'd meet in the hallway and hang out. It's something I really remember as being a lot of fun and enjoying. When I go home, I think about it."
Now that football may become his life's work, Green won't be able to make it back home every three months as he's done in the past. He'll learn more about what it's been like for Davey, who rarely has been able to return to his roots.
Davey was born in Jamaica and didn't come to the United States until his mother, Dottlyn Carruthers, moved to Miami when he was 8 years old. Davey showed an aptitude for football when he was young but was a reluctant player until he began having continued success. He was a two-time all-state football player at Miami Lakes High School, where he also played basketball. The 6-foot-4 Davey toyed with the idea of playing basketball at LSU but never found the time.
Davey's college career certainly was nothing like his high school experience. He didn't become a full-time starter until his senior year, when he threw for a school-record 3,347 yards. Despite the inactivity, he said his background, and the leadership skills he learned from his mother, helped him to accept things for what they were.
"It's all part of life," Davey said of his career. "Life, itself, is filled with ups and downs. ... I've been through so much in my life that whatever happens in sports I've learned to take in stride. I don't get too high, and I don't get too low.
"Coming from a country that has nothing to a place where the sky's the limit leaves you in awe. It's a different situation. People here don't appreciate what they have. I'm fortunate to be able to play football and to be surrounded by a great bunch of guys."
Story courtesy of Red Line Editorial, Inc.