ROEBUCK - Mustafa Greene's journey to the Shrine Bowl did not go as he had hoped.
At the start of his senior season, Greene expected to be the Irmo Yellow Jackets' leading rusher and one of the state's top running backs. He thought a 2,000-plus-yard season was in the cards.
He started out like gangbusters, rushing for more than 200 yards in each of the Yellow Jackets' first three games. He piled up a season-high 278-yards against Summerville on Sept. 12. Three weeks later, Greene's plan was derailed.
He was nearing the 1,200-yard mark when a high-ankle sprain during the seventh game of the season forced the bruising back to the sideline. Four games later, Greene made a brief return, rushing for 115 yards and one touchdown on nine carries against Richland Northeast on Oct. 30. But Greene reinjured his ankle and left the game.
The day before, Greene had been named to the South Carolina Shrine Bowl team.
Greene, who returned to play in Irmo's playoff loss to Dorman and ended the season with 1,367 yards and 18 touchdowns - and over a dozen Division I scholarship offers - said his senior year still can have a great ending.
"Depending on what I do on Saturday, it can make up for all the games I missed," Greene said after a South Carolina Sandlappers practice at Dorman High this week.
Greene is elated to be in Spartanburg this week.
"It's an all-star game, so you have to be excited, and it feels real good to be an all-star, to be in the same category with (Byrnes running back and S.C. Mr. Football) Marcus Lattimore," Greene said.
Sandlapper running backs coach Art Craig said having Greene and Lattimore in the backfield was nothing short of a dream. As coach at Timberland, Craig has coached some strong backs, such as Rockarius King, so he knows the correct approach to getting the best out of the pair is simple.
"The main thing I want to do is just get them the ball and let them do their thing," he said.
Craig is sure Greene will have no problem doing his thing.
"He looks pretty good," Craig said. "I wondered how he'd be after the injury, but as soon as we got out there, you could see he's not holding back at all. He's going for it.
"What I've been most impressed with about him is his eagerness to learn, his attention to detail," Craig said. "And there are no big egos out there, either."
Greene and Lattimore quickly formed a bond.
Greene, a four-star prospect ranked among the top 50 running backs in the nation by Rivals.com, has been compared to Lattimore all season, but now that they are on the same field, there is no animosity between them.
"It's great; it takes some of the pressure off me," said Greene, who averaged more than 30 carries per game this season. "He gets the ball twice, I get the ball twice; he points out what I do wrong, I point out what he does wrong; and we have fun."
Good times, raising money for the Shriner's Hospital, and a South Carolina victory are Greene's hopes for his Shrine Bowl experience.
After missing six games, he figures that is not too much to expect from this final one.