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German Green’s path to Michigan, outlook for 2022

The fifth-year senior is one of the less-heralded leaders on this team.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 04 Big Ten Championship Game - Michigan v Iowa Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

German and his twin brother Gemon have been fixtures of the Michigan secondary since 2018. The DeSoto, Texas natives have taken different paths within the program since joining, and for safety/cornerback hybrid and special teams extraordinaire German, it has been a steady grind from obscurity to contribution.

The former three-star recruit was an early enrollee in Jan. 2018 and immediately began learning the ins-and-outs of a scheme predicated on pressure and aggression under the guidance of Don Brown. While Green did not see game action in 2018, he was able to observe and learn from a passing defense that was ranked second in the country.

In 2019, he was able to finally see game action, albeit limited to one game against Rutgers in a special teams capacity. However, this was the season he began to figure things out and accepted a role that wasn’t deemed successful solely by starting.

Green was twice named Scout Team Defensive Player of the Week and once named Scout Team Special Teams Player of the Week. While on the outside these seem like dubious honors, within the Michigan program these become as competitive as starting assignments and showcase a team-first mentality.

However, as soon as he began to master his craft, everything was about to change. On a personal level, 2020 was a great step in his development for Green. It was his first year playing live snaps on defense and he played in all six games on special teams.

But on a macro level, the Covid-impacted season exposed glaring holes within the program, the team struggled to a 2-4 record and Brown was fired at the end of the season.

“Now what?” became a prevalent question throughout the program, as several players jumped from what appeared to be a burning ship. The Green brothers and several other up-and-coming seniors decided to stay the course with new defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald and fix what was broken.

Most are familiar with the payoffs for star players like safety Dax Hill and defensive end Aidan Hutchinson, but Green was also among the players whose commitment was rewarded.

He appeared in every game last season as a key member of the best special teams unit in the country and played defensive back in two games. Green had grinded his way from an on-looker, to a star practice player, and to finally become a reliable contributor for the team.

For the upcoming season, look for Green to appear on every special teams unit and to provide depth and experience to a young safeties room. While the path to stardom is seemingly out of reach, Green will be a five-year letter-winner at Michigan that helped revitalize a program left for dead just two years ago.