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Ryan Talbot, for the Deseret Morning News
Aggie offensive lineman Mike Green (white jersey) blocks defensive end Ben Calderwood during a Utah State practice.

LOGAN — Mike Green's football resume is rather vanilla.

He wasn't an all-stater or even an all-league performer, just a two-time letter-winner at West Jordan High School.

For a 24-year-old, his professional resume, however, is impressive: Sterling Scholar in foreign language (Spanish), college graduate, honorable discharge from the military after serving nine months in Afghanistan, and the recipient of two military awards.

Now Green, who is only 15 credits shy of a master's degree in political science, is working to beef up his football resume.

"It sounds so cliche and so odd, but I couldn't let go of the dream," said Green, a 2002 graduate of West Jordan. "Coach (Brent) Guy gave me the opportunity and I seized it. I've been working hard to improve every day when I can hopefully be a bigger influence."

After high school, his football career was put on hold. Green, a 6-foot-5, 293-pound offensive lineman, joined the Utah National Guard just months before the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

"It reinforced my feeling that I needed to serve in the military," he said.

After basic training, advanced training and airborne school, Green received his orders and was deployed to Afghanistan, where he was a military intelligence analyst for nine months.

"My job was to process, analyze and disseminate raw data and turn it into actual intelligence products," he said.

After his honorable discharge, Green, who earned a two-year degree from Cochise College while in the military, enrolled at the University of Utah in 2004 and was just a few credits shy of graduating with a bachelor's degree.

"I call it (Afghanistan) a million-dollar experience I wouldn't pay a dime for," he said. "It was a great experience and I learned a lot of things about myself and what I am wiling to do and what my limitations are."

With that in mind, he tried to resuscitate his football career at the U.

"I really didn't think I was good enough to play football there," he said. "I went and tried to walk on for spring ball and I didn't get picked so I let go of the football thing."

The football fire was rekindled when he enrolled at Utah State.

"On the first day of class I went to see if I could play ball still," he said. "All through high school and when you're a kid you want to run through the tunnel. I want to play."

He made the team and dressed for one game last year — the season finale with New Mexico State University — but did not play.

The veteran walk-on, who plays left guard and tackle, went through spring drills this year and dressed for the season-opener with UNLV. Again, he didn't play.

"I think I dramatically improved in spring ball," he said. "Coach (Vance) Vice gave me some opportunities to get in there and get better, learn the offense better, get my footwork better and be a little more physical."

He hadn't dressed since, but his resolve is still firm.

"If I continue to work, I will get rewarded for that," he said.

He is hoping last season will be counted as his redshirt year, so he will have one more season. That has yet to be determined.

In the meantime, he has goals he wants to achieve.

"I want to make the travel squad and I want to contribute to make this team better and win and have a big part in winning a bowl game." said Green, who is planning on becoming a lawyer and work in a JAG office in the military.

"I'm on the scout squad and my goal every day is to try and make the person in front of me better prepared for the next game."

If he never gets the chance, at least he's eased his mind.

"You can always look back the rest of your life and say, 'maybe I could have,"' he said. "I've giving it one last shot. I gave it a shot at Utah and I'll give it another shot here."

Until that time, however, he'll use his military mentality to make him a better football player.

"The word 'ethos' they instilled in me in the military has helped me a lot," he said. "I'm not as talented as these guys on the team, and it taught me to continue to go on and continue to fight."


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