By Brian Spencer
Five years ago, Chris Greenwood was No. 28 for the Detroit Martin Luther King football team, a key contributor for a Crusaders as they finished 7-3 and made the playoffs.
These days, he's a national sports story.
Greenwood, a 6-foot-1, 193-pound cornerback, is attempting the rare jump from Division III college football to the NFL. A standout at Albion College, he was selected in the fifth round of last month's NFL draft by the Detroit Lions.
His round-trip travels from his hometown and back again also included a stop at Northwood University. Greenwood played his final three college seasons for the Britons, last fall being named the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Defensive Player of the Year.
What is your favorite high school memory?
Winning the city championship senior year at Ford Field.
Were there any life/football lessons that you learned in high school that you’ve carried with you through college and now to the league?
Work hard; don’t let anything distract you. You are capable of doing anything that you put your mind to, and then some.
What is the biggest transition you’ve seen from DIII football at Albion to the Lions?
The talent difference I’ve had to get acclimated to, as well as technique. Technique has a much heavier emphasis now. I’ve also noticed a difference in speed and different terminology. For example, simple names for coverages have changed.
If you could trade places with anyone in the world right now, who would it be?
Nobody! I feel like I am in the best position possible. I’m living the dream.
What advice would you give to aspiring athletes who want to make the jump from high school to college? College to professional?
Never give up. Don’t ever quit. Don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t do something. If you work hard and have the ability, they will find you.
What wide receiver tested you most to get to where you are at today?
My older brother (Doug Greenwood); growing up he was always stronger. We used to play, just him and I. He was pretty good. I had to figure out what way I was going to cover him because he was that much faster and stronger. This all took place just in the backyard or the park.
Would you say that your past at a Division III college has helped or hurt you more in the transition from college to professional ball?
It didn’t hurt, as far as what I have to do and what I’m doing now (in practice or off the field), but I feel like it affected my draft position. I could have gotten more exposure at bigger schools. At this point none of that matters; I’m glad to be where I am. Very happy.
Who was your favorite football player growing up?
Charles Woodson (former University of Michigan and current Green Bay Packers cornerback)
Is Donald Driver (Packers WR) more or less intimidating now that he has won "Dancing with the Stars?" If asked, would you be on "Dancing with the Stars?"
No way, he is not more intimidating because of that. If I were asked to do that, I wouldn’t right now. Maybe later on in my career I would do that, but right now I've got to stay focused.
PHOTOS courtesy of Albion College. Note about the interviewer: Brian Spencer is an MHSAA intern this summer, and was an Albion College football teammate of Greenwood's the last three seasons.