Scholastic Roundup: A football family grows at LIU
It was quarterback Derek Green competing evenly with Tanner Mordecai for LIU’s starting spot in last season’s September opener.
Eventually, the coaching staff tabbed Mordecai, a transfer from Oklahoma, for last season’s opener.
Mordecai passed for a program-record seven touchdowns that game against Abilene Christian en route to a school record 39 touchdowns for the season. And Green, a one-time walk-on, resolved to find a new home where he would have an opportunity to start, even though he was invited to return to SMU as a graduate student for this upcoming season.
Within hours of entering the transfer portal in January, newly named LIU offensive coordinator Kort Shankweiler had connected with Green. And months later, Green now is enrolled at LIU as a graduate student – and he plans to spend the next two seasons with the Sharks while pursuing an MBA.
This summer, Green has been in the rotation with LIU’s first group during twice-a-week on-field workouts.
“After graduating from SMU,” Green said in a statement, “the main thing was that I wanted to get on the field a little more. I had a few opportunities of different schools to go to. I felt like, all things considered, with me having an opportunity to play, this was the best option.”
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The 6-foot-4-inch, 215-pound Green regularly served as a placeholder during his SMU career. He attempted eight passes with the Mustangs – five of which came in relief of Mordecai during last season’s Sept. 4th opener against Abilene Christian.
The previous season he had backed-up Shane Bucchele, who had arrived at SMU as a grad transfer from Texas, and who now is in the NFL with Green’s hometown Kansas City Chiefs.
Originally a walk-on at SMU, Green earned a scholarship after his second season at the school. SMU nominated him in 2021 for the Burlsworth Trophy, which goes to most outstanding college football player who originally walked on.
Oh, by the way – Green was no stranger to big-time football upon arriving at SMU.
His father, Trent Green, enjoyed a 15-year NFL career that included two Pro Bowl selections and a Super Bowl XXXIV victory with the Rams. His brother, TJ Green was a quarterback at Northwestern from 2015 through 2020. And Ben Skowronek – a first cousin on his mother’s side of the family – played at Notre Dame and then alongside TJ at Northwestern before being drafted by the Rams in the seventh round of the 2021 draft, and winning the Super Bowl this past February.
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“We had a big crew out at that game,” Green was quoted, “And I think there were 20 of us that went out to L.A.”
At SMU, Green was a four-time American Athletic Conference All-Academic Team honoree.
Because he earned a bachelor’s degree in finance, he expects to only require three semesters to earn his MBA from LIU.
That works out nicely, since the end of that third semester coincides with the conclusion of the 2023 football season.
“I got up here as fast as I could,” he said.
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LIU’s men’s soccer striker Emil Jaaskelainen is among the top players in the USL League Two this summer.
He was ranked by the League Two scouting network as the No. 13 prospect in the entire 114-team league. The 6-foot-6 junior with the Sharks and a native of Bolton, England is playing with Texas United FC.
With LIU last fall, Jaaskelainen earned first team All-NEC and United Soccer Coaches All-Northeast Region honors. He tallied an NEC-leading 15 goals, including six game-winners, and four assists in 21 matches. He also had a league-best 34 points.
He ranked second in the NCAA in goals, one shy of leader Nick Markanich of Northern Illinois (16).
USL League Two, formerly the Premier Developmental League, is a semi-professional developmental soccer league sponsored by United Soccer Leagues.
Andy Furman is a Fox Sports Radio national talk show host. Previously, he was a scholastic sports columnist for the Brooklyn Eagle. He may be reached at: [email protected] Twitter: @AndyFurmanFSR
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