Rutgers senior linebacker Khaseem Greene will not catch anyone by surprise this season. After a stellar junior year — his first at linebacker — Greene finds himself on four separate award watchlists and is an early favorite for Big East Defensive Player of the Year.
Greene checks in on the watchlist for a quartet of big-time wards for college football players —Bednarik, Bronko Nagurski, Butkus and Rotary Lombardi Award preseason lists.
Greene received mentions this morning for the Butkus and Lombardi awards to go along with his previous honors.
The Rotary Lomardi Award goes to the top offensive or defensive lineman in college football and includes many top linebackers in contention. The Butkus, which also features Rutgers senior middle linebacker Steve Beauharnais, goes to the top college linebacker at the end of the season.
The Nagurski and Bednarik awards take all top defensive players into consideration, with Bednarik including junior cornerback Logan Ryan.
After two solid years as a safety, Greene exploded onto the scene for Rutgers in his first year after moving to outside linebacker. Bulking up and excelling at weakside linebacker, Greene was named Co-Big East Defensive Player of the Year in 2011.
The Elizabeth (N.J.) product led the conference with 141 total tackles and is fifth in Rutgers history for single-season tackles. He is just 39 tackles away from cracking the top 10 in school history for career tackles made.
In his junior season, Greene was second best on the team with 14 TFLs and recorded 3.5 sacks.
Greene’s performances helped the Scarlet Knights finish 14th in total defense in 2011 , eighth in scoring defense, fifth in pass efficiency, 15th in sacks and eighth in TFLs.
Greene is set to be one of four players to represent Rutgers at Big East Media Day at the end of the month before the team kicks off training camp.
Coming off a leg injury in the Rutgers win over Iowa State in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, Greene sat out of most drills at spring camp, but head coach Kyle Flood expects him to be fighting fit for the start of August.