A gathering of nearly 100,000 fans will flock to Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on Saturday night to get their first look at Texas’ 2018 squad.
It’ll be a homecoming of sorts, as Texas diehards and players return to their home base for the first time since November. It will also be a true homecoming for Tulsa’s sophomore cornerback Allie Green IV, who is receiving the rare opportunity to play a collegiate game in his own backyard.
Green grew up in the capital of the Lone Star state and attended Lyndon B. Johnson High School.
While Green will get to showcase his talents in front his family and friends, there is one person he is dedicating Saturday’s performance to. And he won’t be in the stands.
“I just wish that my high school coach Andrew Jackson was here to see me play at home, because that would have been a big thing for me too,” Green said.
Jackson, a Texas high school coach for nearly three decades, tragically passed away in December 2017 after losing a battle with cancer. In the midst of fighting the disease, Jackson managed to establish a valuable connection between Green and the Tulsa football program.
“He tried his best to get me to college and get me through high school,” Green said. “He was one of the coaches that put my name out there and sent out my highlights. He’s an awesome coach, so he had a lot of connections. He definitely paved the way for me to get to school.”
Jahmal Fenner, Jackson’s successor, continued to develop Green’s talent on the football field when Jackson was unable. Fenner, a former UTEP cornerback, transitioned Green from safety to corner during his junior season, the same role he now executes for the Golden Hurricane.
“With football and sports at Lyndon B. Johnson, it was very competitive,” Green said. “We were all friends, so it was like a friendly competitive. Me and my friends always bonded together because we always had things to do. In Austin, my life was pretty good for a teenager. I had the most fun I thought I could have in high school.”
Now, 100 of Green’s closest family and friends will attend DKR on Saturday to watch their home-grown talent prosper at the highest level of college football. From his family to his high school principal Ms. Henry, whom Green shares a close connection with, the Tulsa cornerback is ecstatic to reunite with members of the community that shaped him.
“This will definitely be a special game for me,” Green said. “I just feel blessed that in my second year of college, I get to go play home with all of my family being able to come to the game.”
On Saturday, the Tulsa cornerback returns home to a venue that seats over 100 times more people than Lyndon B. Johnson High School’s enrollment. As an Austin native, he’s already accustomed to the lively scene, having attended a Texas game as recently as the Longhorns’ clash with TCU in November 2016.
“I think my adrenaline is going to be pumping when I first get out there,” Green said. “I just have to dial in and play sound football because it’s hard to stay focused when there’s 100,000 people in the stands, cannons going off, bands playing music. You just have to stay focused, and I know that now.”