Following his two-touchdown performance Nov. 24 against defending state champion Destrehan in a 35-14 state quarterfinal victory Zachary tight end Trey’Dez Green was asked whether there was a defensive back that could defend him in the air.
The 6-foot-7, 230-pound Green, an LSU commitment, responded with a refreshing air of confidence that’s enabled him to pluck ‘jump balls’ out of the air.
“No,” Green on whether he was guardable on such pass attempts. “I just go up and get it.”
It’s hard to argue with Green’s measurables and athletic ability, and new-found determination, a combination that’s given No. 6 Zachary (12-1) one of the nation’s top weapons in its quest for a Division I nonselect state championship against No. 1 Ruston (13-0) at 7 p.m. Saturday in the Caeser’s Superdome.
“He’s certainly a special, special talent,” Zachary football coach David Brewerton said. “He has tremendous ball skills. He has tremendous athletic ability. His height and weight are impressive. I’ve been happy with his work ethic once he figured out what this place was about and what we expect from our players.”
There was plenty of scrutiny that followed Green, an accomplished two-sport standout at East Feliciana, once he moved to Zachary where he transferred for his senior season.
Not only could he impact one of the state’s powerhouse programs, where the Broncos are in pursuit of their fifth state title under Brewerton, but Green averaged 27 points and 11 rebounds and helped East Feliciana to the Division IV state non-select semifinals in basketball last season.
He commanded scholarship offers in both football and basketball before committing to LSU in football on April 26.
“It’s been challenging, but I just kept God first and just did what I had to do,” Green said of his transition to Class 5A Zachary from 2A East Feliciana. “I just stayed focused.”
Green’s had an even larger reputation to live up to, one that began at East Feliciana, and continued to balloon at Zachary where he’s rated the country’s No. 37 overall prospect, top-rated tight end and state’s No. 2 player according to On3Sports.com. He’s also been selected to play in the 2024 All-American Bowl on Jan. 6 in San Antonio, Texas.
“I don’t really look at that stuff,” Green said of rankings. “I don’t care about other people’s opinions. I know what I can do. If I’m ranked as the No. 1 in America, then it’s a blessing.”
Green has lived up to his end of the bargain, matching his immense potential with production. He’s the team’s second-leading receiver with 45 catches for 863 yards (19.2 yards per catch) and 11 touchdowns.
“We all have the same role and that’s to catch the ball and be there for each other,” Green said. “When somebody makes a play, we just lift them up and praise them. Just being there for our brothers.”
Before he could show Brewerton what he could do on the field, Green had to first satisfy the responsibilities that came with being part of one of the state’s elite programs.
Over the course of 10 seasons under Brewerton, Zachary has become a staple in Class 5A football and among the reasons why begins in January with a grueling offseason program.
The Broncos, who have annually averaged 11.4 wins during Brewerton’s tenure, are making the program’s fifth state championship appearance.
“It’s been challenging,” Green said. “East Feliciana was 2A and Zachary’s one of the best teams, if not the best team, in 5A. It’s been really challenging.”
One game into the season Green discovered the ramifications that came with missing a practice the week after his 7-catch, 129-yard performance in the opener against East Ascension.
For the first time in his career Green watched from the sideline while Zachary relied on its defense and the second-half effort of quarterback Hudson Spangler in a 17-7 victory over St. Augustine.
It was clearly a crossroads for Green at his new school.
“We had a meeting after the St. Aug game,” Brewerton said. “Since then, he has missed zero practices, zero meetings, zero film sessions, zero weight training. He gets it now. He understands what we want and how we want it done and it’s for his betterment. He has been a tremendous teammate. The kids love him.
“When the other kids make plays, he’s the first one there congratulating them,” Brewerton said. “He’s really been a lot of fun to be around and a joy to coach. He’s not just that prolific athlete you just throw out there and he goes and makes some plays for you and that’s it. It’s more of a positive bonding that’s taken place between him and his teammates, and he and his coaches.”
Green understood his commitment level to the team had to match that of his teammates to be welcomed as a full-fledged team member.
“I had to have a sit down talk with myself and see if this is what I really wanted to do and play at the next level which is a high level with SEC football,” Green said. “I had to take accountability. These guys here had been putting in the work since January. Some guys at East Feliciana were putting in the work, but not all guys cared about football as much as people care about football at Zachary. Everybody on this team wants the same goal and that goal is to win the state championship and be the best they can be.”
A week after a 54-6 win over McKinley, Green’s season truly took off in the team’s statement 48-7 win at West Monroe on Sept. 29.
Green caught six passes for 87 yards and two touchdowns, both of which came in the first half, and fellow receiver Tyson George added a pair of TD receptions. Spangler passed for 330 of the Broncos’ 520 offensive yards and five touchdowns, fueling a span of 34 unanswered points.
“That’s when I knew it was time to go, this was the real deal at Zachary,” Green said. “It’s a big stadium and my eyes were wide. On the field I was nervous. I had never played in a stadium that big before. I knew what time it was from the time the ball was kicked off. I felt better (afterward). I felt like with the things I had gone through, my teammates still had faith in me, still welcomed me back.”
Brewerton saw a position group develop a single-minded approach that’s carried on to the state title game.
“The biggest thing that night was to see that bond really solidify itself within the receiving corps and them being generally excited for each other making big plays,” he said. “You could see them having fun together and felt it like if we could continue that throughout the season, that certainly we should win a lot of football games that way.”
Green’s development has included him becoming a better route runner and blocker, which can be attributed to his work with veteran Zachary wide receivers coach Dru Nettles. He’s been the mentor to such college receivers as LSU’s Chris Hilton, Southern’s Chander Whitfield, UAB’s Trea Shropshire, UL-Lafayette’s Charles Robertson, Grambling’s Tylon Williams, McNeese’s Kameron Senegal and helped polish the rough edges on a gem like Green.
“I’ve been challenged to block,” Green said. “Nine times out of 10 it’s the person I’m supposed to block that’s making the tackle. If I’d block it would be a touchdown. I’ve come a long way.”
Brewerton said it’s been commonplace for defenses to try and locate Green, who usually flexes out wide, and commit an additional defender. That’s usually worked out in the Broncos’ favor with Green either defeating double-team efforts, opening things up for other receivers or the team’s punishing ground game.
Green registered a pair of 100-yard games in the regular season against Catholic High (6-132, TD) and Central (3-117, TD) before taking off in the postseason. He’s scored at least one touchdown in three of his team’s four playoff games, including two against Destrehan, to reach the first state championship game of his career.
“It’s going to be a blessing,” Green said. “I’ve prayed about this. I just put it in mind this is really what I wanted. We’re going down there to win.”