High school teammates Greene, Joyner now starring at Florida State together

first_imgAs a junior in high school, every time Florida State wide receiver Rashad Greene ran a route in practice, he was defended by one of the nation’s premier cornerbacks.When Florida State defensive back Lamarcus Joyner was a senior in high school, every day in practice he squared off against one of the nation’s top receivers.In 2009, Greene and Joyner went head-to-head in practice as high school teammates on the renowned powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Now Joyner, one of the top defensive backs in college football and a potential first-round draft pick, faces Greene, one of the nation’s top collegiate receivers, every day in practice as teammates for No. 2 Florida State.Joyner and Greene are two of five St. Thomas Aquinas alumni — including starting right tackle Bobby Hart, backup center Austin Barron and long snapper Danny Adams –—who currently don the garnet and gold. Greene, Barron, and Hart won the Florida Class 5A State Championship with St. Thomas Aquinas in 2010, and are three new components of the Seminoles squad searching for its first national championship since 1999.“Just being a powerhouse school, going against the best every day, it prepares you for college,” Greene said. “I understood what it takes, and once I got to college, it was basically the same thing, just a little sped up. But I was already used to going up against guys that were very good every day.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSt. Thomas Aquinas’ program is to major Division I college football as Florida universities are to the National Football League: a hotbed of talent. Alumni include Hall-of-Famer Michael Irvin, current Cincinnati Bengals’ Giovanni Bernand and Geno Atkins, Washington Redskins wide receiver Leonard Hankerson and Chicago Bears safety Major Wright.“They’re driven to work as hard as the guys before them, not only to win state championships to continue their great tradition, but to continue their football careers at top colleges,” said FSU defensive lineman Brad Bentz, who attended Wellington (Fla.) High School.For 34 years, former St. Thomas Aquinas head coach and current athletic director George Smith built a program of dominance and excellence. The Raiders have won 28 district titles dating back to 1971, including seven state titles and two national championships.He also brought in one of the most high-profile high school coaching staffs in the country. At St. Thomas Aquinas, Greene learned the intricacies of route running from wide receivers coach and NFL Hall of Famer Cris Carter.“It was definitely cool and an honor,” Greene said. “At the end of the day, just having that one-on-one attention to detail with a guy that’s one of the greatest, a Hall of Famer, there’s nothing more a kid can ask for on a high school level.”Joyner, who ranked ahead of New York Jets first-round pick Dee Milliner in the 2010 Rivals.com cornerback rankings, also spent time of the offensive side of the ball.“It was a great experience, coach Carter, a Hall of Famer, a guy that you grew up watching highlights of,” Joyner said. “I was an athlete in high school imitating my game, running routes like coach Carter. And then just watching him on television, you know, he’s an icon in society.”Before the 2010 season, Rivals.com ranked Joyner the No. 1 cornerback in the country and the Raiders won the 5A District Championship.In 2010, as a true freshman for the Seminoles, Joyner played in all 14 games. He finished with 23 tackles, three pass break-ups and one interception. In the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship game against Virginia Tech, Joyner returned four kickoffs for 112 yards.“With a college program atmosphere like that, going against guys like Rashad every day week in and week out, it helped me be able to compete at this level in college,” Joyner said, “and that’s what you look for.”Seven hours to the south, in Fort Lauderdale, Greene, Barron, and Hart won the FHSAA Class 5A State Championship and were ranked the best high school team in the country.Greene was ranked by Scout.com as the No. 10 receiver in the country in his class, capping his high school career by hauling in six receptions for 148 yards and two touchdowns in the 2010 state title game, including a title-clinching 74-yard pass in the fourth quarter.In his first year at FSU, Greene was named Most Outstanding Player of the Champs Sports Bowl after hauling in five catches for 99 yards and a 15-yard touchdown helping rally FSU to the win over Notre Dame.But for Greene, he knows he’s just another addition to the great St. Thomas Aquinas success story.“It’s good to see your young brothers from your school coming behind you,” Greene said. “You just know how special these kids are going to be when they grow older. Now that we’re all at Florida State, it’s kind of like a prophecy fulfilled…You just see us following that same legacy.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on November 16, 2013 at 1:39 pm Contact Josh: [email protected]last_img read more