Fremont Ross lineman Green commits to Cincinnati

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Steve Junga, The Blade, Toledo, Ohio
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Feb. 23—Fremont Ross junior lineman Ethan Green has committed to a football scholarship offer from the University of Cincinnati.

Green, a 6-foot-7, 270-pound offensive tackle who also doubled on the defensive line for the Little Giants, announced his decision Monday afternoon.

He picked the Bearcats of head coach Luke Fickell from among 11 Division-I college offers, which included Mid-American Conference schools Toledo, Bowling Green, Akron, Eastern Michigan, Kent State, and Miami, as well as Iowa State of the Big 12.

110% committed❗️???? and couldn't be happier with my choice either???? @CrookUC @CoachFick @_maximus347 @PatLambert13 @MikeDenbrock @AllenTrieu @ChadLon51058913 pic.twitter.com/JKlNQe7xeG

— Ethan Green (@EthanGreen72) February 22, 2021

"Cincinnati is far enough away to where I feel like I'm getting away, but close enough to where I'm still in the state," Green said of his decision. "My big selling point was that they have a really good engineering program and a real up-and-coming football program that I think will continue to progress as coach Fickell gets more settled in. That was something I wanted to be a part of."

Last season, playing on a still young and inexperienced but greatly improved Ross team, Green earned Division II first team All-Ohio honors as an offensive lineman. He yielded no sacks in 11 games for the Little Giants at left tackle, and also contributed 50 tackles on defense, including 19 tackles for loss and six sacks.

Equally notable, Green is also the top-ranked Division I heavyweight (285-pound limit) wrestler in Ohio, and takes a 26-0 season record into the upcoming sectional tournament this weekend.

"Ethan covers a lot of ground," Ross coach Chad Long said of Green's offensive line talent. "It's hard to get around him. No one was able to do it last year against him. He uses his hands and his reach and his leverage.

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"But, there's always room for improvement. He could always get better at initiating contact and staying on them and finishing them off every time. He just needs to be consistent and continue improving and showing he's the best lineman every time he steps on the field."

Green's football-wrestling combination has already sparked a bond with Fickell, who was a three-time Division II state champion wrestler (twice at heavyweight) while at Columbus DeSales High School (1990-92). Fickell was also a two-time first team All-Ohio defensive lineman at DeSales before starring for four seasons at Ohio State (1992-96) as a nose tackle for the Buckeyes.

Long said that while Green was near the end of a Zoom conference with the Cincinnati football staff, Fickell asked the Ross lineman if he had any questions.

"Ethan said, 'Yes. How do I win a state [wrestling] title?' " Long said.

Added Green: "He started smiling, and we had a good 15 to 20-minute conversation about wrestling after that. I think that wrestling is definitely something that helped me get recruited to Cincinnati."

Long agreed that Green's football-wrestling resume likely made an impression.

"I think it helped Luke Fickell out in the recruiting of Ethan, and that it worked both ways," Long said. "They've got a connection there.

"I think they will be a great mix. Who wouldn't to play for that guy? He's a winner, and he does things the right way. He's a great players' coach."

Green, evaluated as a 3-star college recruit, is rated as Ohio's No. 31 overall player from the Class of 2022 in the 247Sports composite rankings and No. 67 in his class among the nation's offensive tackles. Among players from the Toledo area, he ranks second behind Central Catholic linebacker Christopher Jackson, who is 30th in Ohio in the Class of 2022.

"They're looking at me to play tackle, and I going to assume that I will stay at left tackle," Green said. "But, I'm good with playing on either side of the line.

"I'm going to have to work more on strength training. As I get older and learn more about the game, I'll get more tips and techniques. I'm sure they will critique me.

"In the meantime, for what I can control, I need to work on strength training."

Long is optimistic about Green's future.

"A lot of college coaches want to know, 'How tough are you?' " Long said. "When you have the breed of a wrestler playing football, that's your mental toughness right there. It's another stage to help you prove yourself.

"When Ethan gets to Cincinnati, I'm sure he will show his toughness and show his will when he's playing against other guys. The way Ethan is, I think, is a lot like the way I was. You always have things to prove, and you've got to show your toughness."

Like Fickell, Long also excelled in both sports while at Clyde High School before playing safety for the Bowling Green State University football team. A key member of the Fliers' 1995 Division III state football championship team, Long believes his mat career, which included two Division II state runner-up finishes at 160 pounds (1996-97), prepared him well for his Falcons football career.

"For me, it was all about tackling," Long said. "Being a safety, tackling is hard to do when you have so many superb athletes that you face weekly. It helped me because it was just like shooting a double-leg [in wrestling].

"In Ethan's situation, he's most likely going to be a left tackle at Cincinnati. It's going to come down to being able to use his leverage and use his hands, just like he does in wrestling."

After serving one season as interim head coach at OSU (2011), Fickell has posted a four-year record of 35-14 at Cincinnati (2017-20), including 31-6 the past three years. This past season the Bearcats were 9-1 and ranked No. 8 in the nation.

Green said he is projected to play offensive tackle for the Bearcats, but still has a promising 2021 senior football season to look forward to at Fremont Ross.

"I'm so excited," he said of his team's 2021 prospects. "I cannot wait. Everybody is so motivated now. We want to win. With our skill guys getting older, and nothing but better as time goes on, I can't wait.

"We're going to be winners this year. There's no question about it. Everybody's getting in the weight room and getting a whole lot stronger. Everybody's getting more mature. We're going to put a lot more points up on the board, and give up a whole lot less."

Between now and then, Long says Green will also be on a mission to prepare for his college career.

"We're going to work on his frame," the Ross coach said. "Right now he's about 270 or 280 pounds, and we're going to get him up about 300 by the time football season starts. They're going to want him to be about 315 by the time he shows up at Cincinnati."