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Green is cleared by NCAA

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Times Staff Writer

Broderick Green never doubted the outcome, but he was frustrated by the wait.

After nearly three weeks, the NCAA Clearinghouse on Friday certified the USC tailback, providing the top-ranked Trojans with some suddenly much-needed depth entering next week’s season opener against Idaho.

“I knew I had the grades to make it through,” Green said after practice. “It was just the fact that it was taking a long time.

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“I was kind of getting anxious worrying about it.”

Green, a freshman from Little Rock, Ark., sat out the first few days of training camp but was allowed to practice for 14 days while the Clearinghouse reviewed his academic records.

He sat out Wednesday’s scrimmage and Thursday’s practice because the grace period had expired.

Green, a 6-foot-1 power back, joins sophomore Stafon Johnson and senior Desmond Reed as perhaps the only fully healthy tailbacks.

“He runs huge,” Coach Pete Carroll said of Green.

Green, however, said he was not as heavy as rumored during the summer.

According to Green, he arrived at USC at 245 pounds, a situation he exacerbated with fast-food meals. Rumors began circulating that he tipped the scale at 260 pounds.

“Then the guys took it and started joking around with it,” he said. “They started calling me ‘260.’ ”

Green, however, said he was never that heavy and that he is down to 234 pounds.

Green’s return is especially timely.

Chauncey Washington suffered a sprained shoulder on Wednesday, and Carroll on Friday all but proclaimed the senior out of the opener when he said, “if Chauncey was healthy he would have started.”

Johnson is on track to possibly have that honor.

Carroll said that Johnson’s attitude and work ethic began to turn around during preparation for the Rose Bowl but that coaches held off judgment until training camp.

“We took an approach with Stafon like he was a first-year guy again,” Carroll said. “Kind of just wipe the slate clean and let’s check it again and see where he advanced to.

“And he obviously took advantage of that and has made a great statement. He’s remained healthy where other guys haven’t, which has really been a positive in his cause. I’m excited to see him play. He’s been hard on our defense.”

Sophomore tailbacks C.J. Gable and Allen Bradford have groin and hip injuries, respectively, but are expected to practice Monday and be available for the opener.

Freshman Joe McKnight remains questionable because of a stretched knee ligament that has kept him out of practice for more than a week.

Players elected quarterback John David Booty, offensive tackle Sam Baker, defensive end Lawrence Jackson and linebacker Keith Rivers team captains.

Booty also was a captain last season.

Rivers said he was honored to fill the role.

“It’s always a big deal when you have a great group of guys who think enough of you to put you in that position,” he said.

“You want to teach the young guys the ropes because they don’t know how it needs to be done.”

Booty had passes intercepted for the first time since training camp began. Terrell Thomas ended the streak during drills and Josh Pinkard added another. . . . Baker (rib) participated in a few plays during drills but is not expected to be pushed in the run-up to the opener. “He’s trying to figure out far he can go,” Carroll said.

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gary.klein@latimes.com


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