This article was originally written by Jack O’Reilly and Lindsay Farrell and appeared in The Tiger News on September 24, 2015. It has been republished with the author’s permission.
This self-described “quiet, chill” starting safety for the Clemson Tiger football team has as much talent on the field as he has charisma off it. His voice is indeed quiet, but his words and actions are not. This season, he is looking to prove that he and his fellow defensive backs make up the best secondary in college football.
Jack O’Reilly:If we didn’t know anything about you, what would you want us to take away from this interview?
TJ Green: I’m just a quiet, cool, relaxed guy. I don’t really talk much.
JO: So you’re from Alabama, why’d you pick Clemson? Did it have anything to do with Coach Swinney being from Alabama?
TJG: I didn’t know originally that he was from here; I learned that on my first visit. But when I got here it was the people around me, the coaching staff, I just felt like I was already here, part of the team. I felt like it was a place I could bond with people, just get better.
Lindsay Farrell: You said on your Twitter that Drake is the greatest rapper of all time. Do you stand by that?
TJG: Oh no, I mean, he’s great, but he’s not the greatest of all time.
JO: You also posted about bringing back NCAA Football. What would it be like to play as yourself in a video game like that?
TJG: That’s the only reason people like playing it. When I first got here NCAA football was still out, so we’d go find rosters with ourselves on it and download them. You just wanted to play with Clemson all the time. It’s just great to see yourself on a platform to introduce yourself to the whole world, and then get on that next level: Madden.
JO: You came here as a wide receiver. Why’d you switch, and are there some advantages or disadvantages to being a former receiver that now plays safety?
TJG: I switched because it wasn’t going how I wanted it to. I wasn’t enjoying playing football. I switched to safety, which I’d played in high school too, because I came here as an athlete, and I could play wherever I wanted to. When I switched to safety, football became fun again. I like to hit people, though I was hitting people as a receiver by playing kickoffs. If I could pick an advantage, I’d say just knowing what receivers are doing and how they do it, where they line up and stuff.
JO: With the long break in between now and Notre Dame, how do you stay focused, and how do you keep from being rusty when Saturday comes?
TJG (Emphatically): Oh the coaches aren’t going to let us lose our focus. It is not an off-week for us. We’ve got to come in and watch film, get our bodies right, because it’s not gonna be a really physical week. We’ll have maybe one day where we’re really physical and tackle. Just gotta get our bodies right and get ready to play.
JO: What did it feel like Thursday night after the game? Knowing you just beat a conference rival on the road in primetime?
TJG: After that game, everybody was tired. We slept on the way back. But it’s an exciting feeling in the locker room, as you can see in the videos of Coach Swinney dancing. It was just fun.
LF: Over the summer, defensive coordinator Brent Venables was asked who would become a household name this season. He said you. Were you surprised by that? Do you feel you’re becoming a household name?
TJG: I was not surprised by that. I felt like I had the opportunity; I just had to push myself to bring it out. I felt like now they know I’m out there, making a name for myself, doing what I have to do.
JO: During the Louisville game, the commentators kept saying this is the best secondary Coach Swinney has ever had. Do you think that’s true, and how does it feel being the best he’s had?
TJG: I mean, we have that mentality that nobody is better than us. We want to go out there and shut everybody down. We don’t want anybody to pass against us. We want everything to be precise, just do what we do. We really feel like we’re the best secondary out there. We have the talent across the board. Just look at us: we’ve got the size and the speed to be one of the best secondary’s there is.
JO:What’s something you’d like to say to the Clemson family?
TJG: We just appreciate y’all’s support. I mean, we sell out two D1-AA teams before the season even starts? That’s crazy. We really appreciate it. When we come out there and there’s that energy, it allows us to play hard and just dominate those teams that we should.