Better than “good”: Tampa Bay Tech WR, Daquon Green

Maturation does not happen overnight. It is a process that is not charted via specific timetable. Although experiences in life can speed up that timetable, maturation itself has yet to be manipulated by human beings–meaning: you simply don’t wake up one morning and declare yourself “grown and mature”–that’s not how this works, that’s not how ANY–well, you get the point.

Tampa Bay Tech WR and University of Florida commit, Daquon Green
Tampa Bay Tech WR and University of Florida commit, Daquon Green

Leadership fits into this general assessment in our opinion as well. Just as you wouldn’t declare yourself mature, you wouldn’t just show up and declare yourself a leader without proving as such. The nuance with leadership is that great leaders lead in a couple of different ways when it comes to athletics. Often times, maturation and leadership go hand-in-hand. There’s correlation with causation. You rarely see a leader that people think of as “immature”, right? Before you answer, make sure you don’t confuse “leader” with leading scorer or highest-rated prospect–those aren’t necessarily “leaders” that we are referring to in this piece.

Tampa Bay Tech and University of Florida commit Daquon Green fits into the category of a leader, because he’s grown into that role after playing behind stars and becoming his own young man–on and off the field–which is a sign that his maturation level at this point is well-suited to handle being the “big man on campus” and when he puts the pads on for the Titans. The 6-foot-1, 185-pound wideout has put up excellent numbers for Tech, catching 74 passes for 1,616 yards and 17 touchdowns for his career while helping to create his own aura following some huge names like Tajee Fullwood and Deion Cain at the school–an aura that screams “follow me” while not saying a word above the decibel of a church mouse. For Green, it’s always been–and always will be–about his actions, not his words.

“It has been a very constant process where he has been allowed to progress slowly making leaps and bounds, but not really called upon to be the focal point until the past season,” said Tampa Bay Tech Head Coach, Jayson Roberts. “His freshman year he had Tajee Fullwood, Fred Russ, Deion Cain and Donzell Polite around him to be lead guys and he was able to be a role player while still be a starter as a freshman–even scoring four touchdowns as well that year. His sophomore season, he became the lead receiver–but the offense still centered around Deion Cain. This past season he knew–and other teams knew–he was the guy. He prepared himself all season to see double teams and safeties playing over the top. He still responded with the most receiving TD’s in a single season and school history.”

Green’s embracing of his leadership role is another sign of that maturation going hand-in-hand with all of the good ones, but the way in which he leads is the ultimate proof that his maturation is as solid as his play on the field.

“His personality is very laid back–almost stoic, so it took about halfway through his sophomore season for him to really show much emotion and be vocal,” said Roberts. “His leadership style has been more of leading by action. He’s usually the first guy in the locker room and one of the last to leave. He knew going into the season that we had a lot of younger guys around him and sometimes we were going to say ‘hey #7 we need you to be special and make a play’–which he delivered more times than not.”

Identifying talent is the responsibility of the head coach and placing that talent in the appropriate position to succeed is their ultimate goal. Since the coaches are the “adults” in the situation, they can see what the kids cannot. Green was no exception to Roberts and the Titans’ staff when he first appeared on the varsity following his first year on campus.

“We knew he was a special talent after our first 7-on-7 portion of practice in the summer when he was coming from the ninth grade,” said Roberts. “He was playing free safety for us at first, but when he started running routes and catching the ball–we saw how natural his hands were and how well he separated from the older guys trying to cover him. After the USF Sling-n-Shoot that same summer when he made a game winning TD catch to beat Armwood and put us in the championship game, we knew he was going to better than just “good.””