Jaren Colston-Green would love nothing more than to follow in his father’s footsteps.
Why wouldn’t he? After all, those footsteps belonging to Willie Green spent eight seasons in the NFL, winning two Super Bowls with the Denver Broncos in 1997 and 1998.
“It was great going to the games and meeting all the players,” Colston-Green said. “I wanted to be just like him when I grew up and play wide receiver.”
Colston-Green is doing just that. The 6-foot-1, 185-pound native of Tallahassee, Florida, is in his senior season at Utah State and gives the Aggies athleticism and versatility on the outside.
“He’s one of those guys that is extremely athletic for us and has the capability of being a big-time wideout,” said USU outside receivers coach Jovon Bouknight. “His speed and the way he gets in and out of his routes, he is so athletic, and has been able to contribute in different ways for us that some guys just don’t have.”
Through the first seven games of his senior season, Colston-Green has caught six passes for 100 yards (16.7 yards per catch), including a long of 40.
“Coming out of the spring and the fall, Jaren was the guy that we were saying that this offense and the way it works, kind of suits and favors him a little bit better,” Bouknight said. “We thought he would have a little bit more production right now, but hopefully it picks up when teams start keying in on Ron’quavion (Tarver).”
Colston-Green would love for that to happen.
“I want to make more big plays when the opportunity is given,” he said.
Heading into Saturday’s game at UNLV, Colston-Green has played in 26 career games with the Aggies since his sophomore season in 2015. He has recorded 14 catches for 330 yards and two touchdowns.
As a junior in 2016, Colston-Green averaged a team-best 29.3 yards per reception and had a 23-yard touchdown catch against San Diego State.
“His top-end speed is his greatest strength, and then the way he gets in and out of his routes,” Bouknight said.
Colston-Green began his collegiate career at Oklahoma State, where he redshirted in 2013. Following that season, he transferred to Arizona Western College in Yuma, Arizona, and had 11 catches for 165 yards and three touchdowns as a freshman in 2014.
“I walked on at Oklahoma State my freshman year,” Colston-Green said. “I redshirted and then I transferred to a junior college. Oklahoma State couldn’t offer me a scholarship until my junior year because I hadn’t been in the program long enough, and I couldn’t afford it.”
The decision to transfer to Arizona Western paid off as he helped the Matadors end the season as the fifth-ranked team in the NJCAA after defeating Central Lakes College-Brainerd in the El Toro Bowl. Arizona Western tied the school record for wins that year with 11.
Furthermore, Colston-Green was on the Dean’s List for the spring semester.
His next stop: Utah State.
“When I came on my visit, I really liked the city of Logan,” Colston-Green said.
Several former Aggie teammates who were from Florida also played a factor in Colston-Green’s decision to bring his talents to Cache Valley.
“They really helped me understand about being far from home, which helped a lot,” Colston-Green said. “The coaching staff also helped me feel at home when I first got here on my visit.”
Besides Utah State, Colston-Green also held offers from South Alabama and Alabama State.
Two of his most memorable moments at Utah State include beating No. 21 Boise State in 2015 and knocking off in-state rival BYU just a few weeks ago.
“Understanding the rivalry, it meant a lot to me,” he said.
Colston-Green doesn’t recall when he first started playing the game he loves. What he does recall, though, is always having a ball in his hands.
“I just always had a football or basketball in my hand,” he said. “My mom wanted me to play basketball at first, but there was just something about football that I loved, so I just stuck with it.”
Perhaps it was tagging along with his dad at NFL games, and meeting legends like John Elway when his dad was a member of the Broncos for those back-to-back Super Bowl title runs.
“I’ll never forget that,” Colston-Green said of meeting Elway. “It was awesome. I was young, but I knew who he was, so it was just awesome to meet him. He is a (really) nice guy.
Like his father before him, Colston-Green wants to play in the NFL.
“That would be awesome,” he said. “Not too many former NFL players’ sons make it to the NFL, so that would be a real big thing for me. That’s what I’m trying to do.”
While Colston-Green wants to continue to follow in his father’s footsteps, it is his mother, Karen Colston, who has arguably helped him the most in getting him to where he is today.
“My mom is a big part of why I’m here,” he said. “She was my homeschool teacher and taught me my senior year. Basically, if it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be where I am today, so I just want to thank her.”
Outside of football and schooling, Colston-Green enjoys watching Game of Thrones and playing video games. Once football is over, he wants to spend some time in the mountains.
“I want to go snowmobiling and do a lot of stuff in the snow this year since it’s my last year here,” he said. “I want to get out and try snowboarding and all of that.”
Colston-Green is majoring in interdisciplinary studies with an emphasis on sociology at Utah State. He is on track to graduate this December.
“Off the field, he is a likable and sociable guy,” Bouknight said. “He lightens up the room, and we love having his laughter and his conversation in that room. He is a wonderful guy and has been a great guy for us. We’re going to miss him when he’s gone.”