Coming into his freshman year, Dre Greenlaw was asked to move from safety, a position he played all through high school, to linebacker. After some skepticism, he embraced the change and has developed into one of the biggest play makers for the Arkansas defense.
“He’s a natural.” says teammate and fellow linebacker Brooks Ellis.
“Really kind of didn’t expect it to go as it has. I can tell that being honest with you.” adds Greenlaw’s position coach Vernon Hargreaves.
It’s not always the easiest thing being a true freshman and be out there playing, but Dre Greenlaw is making it happen. Coming off SEC Freshman of the week honors, he’s even exceeding his family’s expectations.
“I don’t want to say we were shocked that he jumped into a starting role as soon as he did, but I think it’s huge for anybody to come in as a true freshman and get playing time on that level in the SEC.” says his mom, Nanci Early.
Second on the team in tackles, and playing a position he learned just months ago,
“The first day he did it, he was just a natural. Could do it easily. it just came to him.” adds Ellis.
Greenlaw’s performance is something he knew he always had in him.
“I came in just with the mindset that, you know, I’m just as good as these guys and that’s what I was telling myself. And there’s nobody out there. I feel like there is nobody out there better than me.” says linebacker Dre Greenlaw.
But don’t confused his confidence for cockiness. He’s only taking advantage of an opportunity given to him and living by a message he’s carried with him since high school.
“When I was being recruited and under-recruited I just felt like, you know once they give me a chance I’ve got God with me and that’s all I need. So I just felt like as long as I got him than there’s nothing I can’t do.” adds Greenlaw.
“When he moved in with us at 14, we put a little plaque in his room that just said “For I know the plans that I have for you.” and he has been able to just let God lead.” adds Early.
There is still much the true freshman has to learn, but with a sold foundation and willingness to learn his best football is still in front of him.
“He’s working on trying to understand being a linebacker believe it or not. You know what I mean, because he hasn’t been down there, and I have to remind myself he hasn’t been down there. You’ve got to put your head down and have some humility and understand that ‘you know what, I still have a lot of getting better to do.’ and I think he’s kind of embraced that too.” adds Hargreaves.
“I knew coming in he was going to do something special here.” continues Ellis.
“There’s big things to come down the road with Dre Greenlaw.” adds Arkansas Defensive Coordinator Robb Smith.
Currently Greenlaw is second behind Ellis in tackles with 53. He had 16 in last Saturday’s 4 overtime win over Auburn.