MSU redshirt freshman linebacker Gerri GreenSTARKVILLE – Gerri Green stands out among Mississippi State’s linebackers. His shoulder pads align with the helmet of most of his teammates. His arms resemble the legs of other Bulldogs. Within the unit, through physical appearance, he’s that pre-teen in Little League that grew faster than everyone else.“Physically, I feel like I’m ready to step on the field,” Green said. “ Mentally, I’m still trying to get the little part together.”Green’s not a normal redshirt freshman looking to break out this season. He carries expectations almost as large as his physique.Mullen said Green “headlined” the 2014 recruiting class and labeled him “a guy that ultimately fits our program to a tee. Gerri Green is an ultimate priority guy.”The lofty expectations don’t stop there.He’ll be asked to replace all-everything linebacker Benardrick McKinney. The Walter Camp All-American led the team in tackles the last two seasons and became the highest MSU linebacker selected in the NFL draft since 1982.“I have the opportunity to be better than them,” Green said. “They laid the foundation of the great linebackers here at Mississippi State. I can either live up to it or not live up to it.”Throughout camp Green worked with the second-team defense. He has occasionally earned reps with the first team.Physically, he’s an NFL-ready player. Mentally, he’s an inexperienced freshman, who needed a redshirt to mature.“My football IQ for the SEC wasn’t there yet,” Green said. “I wasn’t ready to be an SEC linebacker or just an SEC player. My body wasn’t ready. My mind wasn’t ready. I had to catch up with the game.”McKinney relayed the formations to his teammates and aligned the entire defense. Richie Brown currently has that responsibility. He lines up next to Beniquez Brown, who teammates refer to as the “Brain” of the defense.The two have tutored Green, but also set the bar extremely high for the 6-foot-4 linebacker.“Any little thing, any detail, Richie’s one of the smartest linebackers we have,” Green said. “He knows everything to know.”McKinney joined other former MSU linebackers, Chris White, K.J. Wright, and Deontae Skinner in the NFL. Green is the next in line taking the torch from McKinney.Some may feel pressure. Green relishes the opportunity.“I feel like I can do this, and this is what I want to do,” Green said. “I’m a linebacker.”Contact Michael Bonner at [email protected] Follow @MikeBBonner on Twitter.