Setting the Stage
A.J. Green was born in Summerville, South Carolina, and played both basketball and football for the Summerville Green Wave. Green started four years and totaled 279 receptions for 5,373 yards and 53 TDs, making All-State in all four years. He was universally ranked as a five-star wide receiver and among the top ten players nationally his senior season. He verbally committed early to attend Georgia and followed through on that commitment.
He had three straight productive seasons for the Bulldogs, totaling 166 catches for 2,619 yards and 23 TDs. He declared early for the 2011 NFL Draft after his junior season. His NFL Combine numbers were decent, but not noteworthy. Eleven wide receivers ran faster than his 4.50 forty-yard dash. He managed only a 34 ½” vertical and 10’-6” on the broad jump. Nonetheless, his wide receiver play and production kept him rated as the best or second best wide receiver in the draft, along with Julio Jones.
Green wound up being taken first at 4th overall by the Cincinnati Bengals, two spots ahead of Julio Jones. Jones however cost the Falcons much more, as they gave five picks (2011 1st, 2nd & 4th and 2012 1st & 2nd) to Cleveland to select him at sixth overall.