RW Recruiting: A visit with nation’s top 2022 tight end prospect Donovan Green and his head coach John Snelson
Donovan Green, the top tight end in the 2022 class, has included Ole Miss in his Top 6.
OXFORD, Miss. — 29° 27′ 38″ N, 95° 3′ 14″ W….. no, that’s not a typo. Those are the latitude and longitude coordinates of Dickinson, Texas, home of the Dickson Gators and their four-star tight end Donovan Green, considered by many, including ESPN, to be the nation’s number one tight end recruit in the Class of 2022.
When you think of high school football recruiting, especially in the state of Texas, it’s hard to do so without conjuring up images of Friday Night Lights. Year in and year out, the nation’s top collegiate programs travel to the Lone Star State in hopes of landing some of the nation’s finest.
And Green is definitely one of those finest.
The 6-foot-four inch, 220-pound Green is no stranger to recruiting offers, as he already sits on over 45 from the ACC to the SEC and every top program in between. Recently, he narrowed down the choice of where to play to his top six schools which include: Florida, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Texas A&M, Texas, and USC.
TOP 6 Ready to finish this race.@samspiegs @MikeRoach247 @Perroni247 @Nextlevelsports @vypehouston @Texan_Live @DickinsonFB @Hayesfawcett3 @ihss_houston @simplyCoachO @HamiltonESPN @AWilliamsUSA #HookEm #Boomer #GigEm #Gator #FightOn #HottyToddy pic.twitter.com/z4pZrMgpOG
— Donovan Green ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (@Donovangreen23) October 29, 2020
The four-star recruit caught 34 passes for 615 yards and five touchdowns last year as a sophomore. He was named first-team all-district in District 24-6A and a MaxPreps sophomore All-American.
It takes a lot of blood, sweat, and tears for a high school athlete to make it to the next level these days. Donovan Green and other elite student-athletes have worked hard from the moment they first picked up a football. To reach the pinnacle and become one of the nation’s top recruits, a young man must be strong, on and off the field. He must put in hours and hours of tireless work on the gridiron and in the classroom — and Donovan has done just that as he sports a 3.86 grade point average.
The Rebel Walk recently had the pleasure of catching up with both Donovan and Dickson Head Coach and Athletic Director John Snelson.
Dickinson Head Coach John Snelson
Last month, with a 59-0 win over Brazoswood, Dickinson head coach John Snelson became the winningest coach in the history of the Dickinson High School football program with 72 wins.
Coach Snelson: I’ve been coaching for 27 years, 14 years as a Head Coach. I played football at the Air Force Academy for one year and then finished up at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Missouri.
The Rebel Walk: What is your football philosophy?
Coach Snelson: My philosophy is to play great defense and be explosive on offense. Utilize your player’s strengths. Have a strong running game, play-action pass attack, vertical passing game, and utilize different forms of tempo on offense.
The Rebel Walk: What has been one of the most difficult obstacles as a Head Coach and also as an Athletic Director during this pandemic when it comes to keeping your athletic program going?
Coach Snelson: Keeping the players engaged and keeping their attitudes positive.
The Rebel Walk: As a coach in one of the most fertile recruiting states for high school players, how have you seen the COVID-19 pandemic change the recruiting process?
Coach Snelson: Not having spring football was a major blow for our players. We average 100-125 college coaches coming through our doors to look at our kids in the month of May. Losing that ability for college coaches to put their eyes on our kids was huge. Then not having summer camps, the kids not being able to get on campus for unofficial visits, meet coaches, and get a feel of the campus, etc. was a major blow for high school student-athletes.
The Rebel Walk: What recruiting advice do you give your athletes who are going through this process?
Coach Snelson: Every kid’s situation is different; don’t compare your situation to others. We tell our players to take care of their academics first; put physical, explosive, and enthusiastic plays on video; and be the best teammate that you can be. We tell them that what they do daily in the classroom, weight room, and practice field is their resume.
The Rebel Walk: Donovan is one of the nations most sought after tight ends in the class of 2022. What is it about him that sets him apart from other kids you have coached?
Coach Snelson: He’s the total package. He has length, ability to stretch the field, ability to catch the ball in traffic, Football IQ, and mental and physical toughness. He’s also very unselfish and a great teammate.
The Rebel Walk: At what kind of program do you see Donovan really unleashing his full potential?
Coach Snelson: A program that will push him to develop every aspect of his game.
The Rebel Walk: Donovan has narrowed down his schools to six. Can you speak a bit from a head coach’s perspective as to what stands out about these programs and what might be the game-changer in the recruiting process?
Coach Snelson: All six of his top choices are outstanding programs. All six utilize their TE’s in the passing game, which I know is big for him. I think it’ll come down to where he feels he fits in best, which program will utilize his skill set and help him grow and develop as a student, a player, and as a person.
He’s a very intelligent young man. He’s the total package and he wants to be coached and developed to the fullest. It’s as simple as that.
Tight end Donovan Green
The Rebel Walk: What has it been like being recruited under the circumstances surrounding COVID?
Donovan Green: It’s been nothing too crazy. Just talking to my coaches is nice. The only thing out of the normal is being able to go on visits.
The Rebel Walk: What has been the most difficult part of your recruiting journey so far?
Donovan Green: The most difficult part so far has been managing the calls and texts from schools, with school and practice.
The Rebel Walk: What is your football philosophy as an athlete?
Donovan Green: My philosophy as a football player is to always look for ways to get better and never stop working.
The Rebel Walk: What advice do you have for other recruits and kids who are still wanting to get seen but may not have a season right now?
Donovan Green: Work on your craft as much as you can. Always try to get better. Make a Twitter, and take advantage of how much people are on their phones during the pandemic.
The Rebel Walk: You have narrowed down your choices to a Top 6. Can you share a bit about why they stand out to you?
Donovan Green: All the schools that I picked for my top six have shown that they know how to use a tight end and spread him out and create mismatches on the field.
The Rebel Walk: What are you looking for in a school and a program?
Donovan Green: What I’m looking for in a school is a good atmosphere, a school that can prepare me for life after football, and a school who can prepare me for the next level.
The Rebel Walk: There is no denying you are beast on the gridiron, Donovan. But we hear you are quite a skillful artistic entrepreneur with a custom sneaker design business. How did you get into that? Is that something you would like to continue to keep building on?
Donovan Green: I got into doing shoes because I had started seeing videos on YouTube of people painting shoes. I just thought why not give it a try. So I got my supplies, did a pair and it took off from there.
Here are some of Donovan’s designs:
The Rebel Walk: What drew you to Ole Miss?
Donovan Green: I was drawn to Ole Miss because their coach came from a school where the tight end led the nation in yards out of any tight end in college one year, and now he is doing the same thing at Ole Miss.
The Rebel Walk: What song are you most listening to right now to get you in the zone?
Donovan Green: The song is “Weeee” by Trippie Red
The Rebel Walk: What do you think will play the biggest role in your recruitment choice?
Donovan Green: What will play the biggest role in my recruitment will be whoever shows me that they are the best school for a tight end to make it to the next level.
Donovan Green is the real deal, Rebel faithful — a student-athlete who is as much of a scholar and designer as he is a playmaker.
Green, whose dad Dominque won a state title as a receiver for the La Marque Cougars in 1995, obviously would be a tremendous asset to Ole Mis head coach Lane Kiffin’s offense, not just because he’s a phenomenal ball player, but because he’s the complete package, including an excellent teammate.
As a junior, Green still has a journey ahead, but perhaps (and hopefully!) his road will lead him to 34.3619° N, 89.5342° W, because there is no place like Saturdays in the Vaught!
Lee Ann is the Director of Recruiting for The Rebel Walk. She is a veteran SEC sports journalist and NFL content writer. She is also the Sr. Editor for MESPORTS digital. Herring-Olvedo is a Brown University graduate who loves good cigars, good games, and a smooth glass of bourbon — not necessarily in that order.