This 13-year-old Peoria football player is 6-foot-4, 300 pounds and has a D-I offer

Jaquarius "Big Baby" Green participates in a drill during the 309 Punishers practice at Manual High School this week.
Dave Eminian
Journal Star

PEORIA — Jaquarius Green is 6-foot-4, 300 pounds and absolutely mauls opponents on the football field. The Peorian has an offer from an NCAA Division I program and a personal trainer.

And he is 13 years old.

"But I've been this size since I was 9," said Green, who turned 13 in June and will be an eighth-grader at Roosevelt Magnet School in the fall. "I love football. It's fun, sometimes guys ask me not to crush them."

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As big as Green is physically, "Big Baby" has a future even bigger — starting with that offer from Morgan State, an NCAA Football Championship Subdivision program in Baltimore.

"It's a blessing to have an offer from a D-I school, I could never afford to go to college otherwise," Green said. "It's amazing. I went to a tournament in Kansas City, and someone made video of me playing there and put it out there, and the next day Morgan State called and made me an offer.

"I was in shock."

Jaquarius "Big Baby" Green participates in a drill during the 309 Punishers practice at Manual High School this week. Green, 13, has already received an NCAA Division I offer from Morgan State University.

Help from a Manual grad

Green lives in the Manual High School district with his mother, Kendria. He says he might move to Texas with his trainer, Logan Tuley-Tillman.

Tuley-Tillman, a 6-7, 320-pound Peoria native, played at Manual and went on to play three years at Michigan, then finished at UTEP. The former offensive lineman played in the XFL for D.C., and founded and still operates LT2 Football Academy in Dallas.

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"He's really helped me," Green said. "Offensive tackle, center or defensive tackle, one of those three positions is what I hope to end up playing."

The 309 Punishers 

Green plays for the 309 Punishers, a youth football team — think football's version of AAU basketball — with 60 kids divided on 9-under and 13-under teams.

The program was founded by Demarko Harris — another Manual grad — as a traveling program designed to expose kids to regional play and gain greater visibility.

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"We are part of the Midwest Developmental League under the American Youth Football program," said Harris, 40. "I was involved with JFL for about 10 years. I decided to create this team because I wanted our local kids to be seen, to get into a track where they could get on tape, get recruited at a young age."

The team plans to play about eight games from September through November. They travel all over the region to play, and Manual's field is their home turf.

309 Punishers coach Phillip Ellis explains a play at a practice at Manual High School on Monday, August 2, 2021.

Aggressive, humble and versatile

Green joined up and is on the league's all-star team. Not even in high school yet, he's impressed adults around him on and off the field.

"He can play anywhere on the field," Harris said. "Literally, no one can stop him. He's played every position on the offensive line, plus defensive tackle. He's such a humble kid and so smart and coachable. As soon as his tape got out online, he got a D-I offer. He has a great future."

Green has grown up watching and idolizing Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones, whose 40.5 sacks are second-most in the NFL among defensive tackles during his six seasons.

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"He's so aggressive," Green said. "That's how I want to play. I just feel a connection with his game."

And he has support from home.

"My mom," Green said, "thinks it's something to do to get me out of the house."

It may take him a lot further than that.

Dave Eminian is the Journal Star sports columnist, and covers Bradley men's basketball, the Rivermen and Chiefs. He writes the Cleve In The Eve sports column for Reach him at 686-3206 or Follow him on Twitter @icetimecleve.