Written by Matt Wixon
Wixon: LB's efforts prove instrumental for Mesquite Horn
Orchestrating big hits isn’t the only thing at which junior excels
MESQUITE — Linebacker D.J. Green plays with an intensity few players can match. The Mesquite Horn junior is, in the oft-used compliment for defensive stars, a “high-motor guy.”
But Horn coach Rodney Webb offers the best description of Green.
“He has the ability on every play,” Webb said, “to hurt someone or himself.”
Now that is a high-motor guy. And that’s not the kind of guy you would expect to see polished up in a tuxedo and preparing to play the double bass in the orchestra. But Green is as comfortable holding a bow for the double bass as he is stuffing a running back.
“Music is my stress release,” Green said. “In football, you get to hit people, but music is just beautiful when it’s played right.”
Whether it’s music or football, Green is playing it right. He’s only 16, but he’s already 6-2 and 210 pounds and leads Horn with 75 tackles. He follows in the footsteps of Jody Owens, a 2008 Horn graduate who is now the leading tackler at Montana State, and Kyle Boyd, who turned down a scholarship offer to Baylor earlier this year to join the Marines.
Green is on track to be the best linebacker ever at Horn, said Webb, who has coached the team since 2008.
“He’s got a real warrior mentality,” Webb said. “We’ve actually had to talk to him about backing off in practice a little bit.”
Some soothing classical music might do the trick. Green has been part of a school orchestra since sixth grade and began playing the double bass in seventh grade. Football is his sole focus right now, but he’ll be part of the advanced orchestra again when he’s done.
He hopes the football season won’t be done for a while. Looking at Horn’s record (2-6, 1-2 in District 11-5A), that would seem unlikely, but the Jaguars’ losses this season are against teams with a combined record of 39-9.
In Horn’s last two games, the Jaguars have given Longview (No. 8 in the Class 5A state rankings) a scare and pushed No. 3 DeSoto to overtime. With a win Friday over North Mesquite (4-4, 0-3), Horn can earn a trip to the playoffs.
The ultimate goal, Green said, is going further in the playoffs than a year ago, when Horn advanced to the 5A Division II Region II final. He doesn’t have a similar goal for music, although it’s something he might pursue in college.
For now, it’s just a hobby, and it’s an unusual one for a football player. But Green’s off-the-field personality is much different than when he’s wearing No. 50 and anchoring the defense.
“He’s like the polar opposite. He’s such an easy-going, humble kid off the field,” Webb said. “He has the ability to turn the switch on when he’s on the field and turn it off when he leaves it.”