PISCATAWAY - Looking back, the only thing Khaseem Greene wishes were different about his switch from safety to linebacker is that it happened sooner.
"I wish I could have moved a year earlier," Greene said after Rutgers' first practice on the last day of training camp. "If that had happened, who knows what could have happened -- what would have been the outcome."
In all likelihood, it would have been something for the record books.
After moving from safety to weak-side linebacker before last season, Greene quickly emerged as a dominating force. He led the Big East in tackles en route to being named the Big East Co-Defensive Player of the Year.
Forgoing the NFL Draft before his gruesome ankle injury in the Pinstripe Bowl, the fifth-year senior enters the 2012-13 season with more preseason accolades than he can keep track of.
While Greene is honored and humbled by the recognition, he's not surprised he made such a seamless transition. All he had to do was shake off the rust.
"It was easy," Greene said. "I just had to dust off the cobwebs. I played linebacker all my life."
Greene went to prep school for a year to become academically eligible for Rutgers, and it was at prep school he made the move to the secondary.
"I just went to school and told them I wanted to be a safety because I like Ed Reed and Troy Polamalu. They let me do it and I had some success. And I was able to get a scholarship being a safety," Greene said.
Despite his success at safety, Greene was moved to linebacker to make for a smaller, speedier defense. This move has paid dividends for both Greene and the Scarlet Knights.
Now, heading into his final season, Greene has set the bar high. He has a number of tackles he'd like to reach, and while he wouldn't divulge it, he did say it's higher than the 141 he recorded last year.
Of course, those numbers don't matter as much to the Elizabeth, N.J. native as winning Rutgers' first Big East Title.
"I'll probably just keep the number to myself just for the purpose that I'm not a selfish guy or anything like that," Greene said. "But like I said, it's just my personal goals that I always have set for every year. I never put anything above the team."
Greene has endeared himself to his teammates. The 6-foot-1, 230-pounder was voted team captain during training camp, just another milestone on what has been a long and challenging journey. But Greene wouldn't have it any other way.
"There were some obstacles I had to get over physically and mentally, but it was all worth it. I wouldn't trade my experience for anything in the world. The last six years of my life have made me the man I am today. And like I said, I wouldn't trade it for anything.
"I'm blessed to have been given the opportunities to go to prep school and get eligible for college and come to college," Greene said. "I'm happy where I came from and the man I came out as after all those tough times."