Berkmar junior Anthony Greene is among the strongest football players in Gwinnett County. (Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan)
THE GREENE FILE
Who: Anthony Greene
Favorite sports team: Baltimore Ravens
Favorite movie: “Rush Hour”
Dream job: Play in the NFL or be an engineer
• Can bench press 420 pounds, squat 600 and power clean 310
• Plays defensive end and linebacker for Berkmar
• Was born in Liberia, but grew up in Rhode Island
• Moved to Georgia in August 2012
Jonathan Sanks wasn’t exactly sure how strong Anthony Greene was.
He had an idea after watching him work out during the fall last year.
It wasn’t until the state powerlfting meet in March that Sanks really found out.
As athletes were going through their warm-up lifts on the bench press, they quickly got to 250 pounds. Sanks realized Greene had not had a lift yet and was worried he wouldn’t get an attempt. He found him in the least likely spots — sleeping in the stands.
“He said what weight are they at? Coach told him 250 and he was like, ‘I’m going to get in when they get to 300,’” Sanks said. “I was like, really? That’s when I knew.”
What Sanks found out that day is that Greene, 17, has unbelievable strength in the weight room. It has carried over to the football field, where Greene has emerged as a promising defensive end/linebacker for the Patriots.
“He’s a freaking stud, bottom line,” Sanks said. “I haven’t seen too many kids that have come through as strong as he is. It’s unreal for his size.”
At 6-foot, 248 pounds, Greene has impressive lifting numbers for a college football player, much less a junior in high school. He can bench press 420 pounds, squat 600 and power clean 310. His bench and squat are the tops for high school football players in Gwinnett this year.
“He’s a stud, that’s just the bottom line,” Sanks said.
So what’s the key to Greene’s strength? It’s pretty simple — food.
“I just eat a lot. You can ask the guys I play football with, every morning I’m eating,” Greene said. “I’ve got to eat some steaks and ribs. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, you just have to keep eating.”
Greene doesn’t take any supplements. He’s not taking whey protein, creatine, amino acids. It’s just food. His meals usually consist of meat, lots of it, and are a little out of the ordinary. Like ribs for breakfast.
“It’s my favorite food,” Greene said with a big smile.
Greene was born in Liberia and moved to the U.S when he was a toddler and grew up in Rhode Island with his father Daniel. He started lifting weights when he was 11 with his cousin. It wasn’t until Greene moved to Georgia last fall to live with his mother Roseline Appleton that he realized he had pretty good strength.
“When I got into high school, I was kind of good at it, but not experienced enough to know the whole routine of it,” Greene said. “I was a little shaky, but they got me right.”
Greene started working out with linebacker Jaden Le during Sanks’ weight training class and began to put up good numbers. At the time he had a modest 310-pound bench press.
“Jaden took him under his wing and kind of pushed him and took him to that next level,” Sanks said.
Greene wasn’t able to join the Berkmar football team until the third game last season. He was still learning the defensive scheme, but with his impressive strength and Berkmar’s inexperience he was able to get some playing time. By the end of the season, he was beginning to make plays like when he had seven tackles against Parkview.
“He’s low to the ground, he’s strong and he’s fast,” Sanks said. “When he puts his hands on you, I don’t care who you are he’s going to move you.”
Greene isn’t in a class by himself when it comes to lifting at Berkmar. The Patriots have three other players with similar numbers. It’s a far contrast from when Sanks took over the program four years ago. Berkmar didn’t have anyone that could bench press or power clean more than 135 pounds. The Patriots now have almost 20 players than can bench press and power clean 225.
Greene leads the way with his monster strength.
“He loves to lift weights and work hard and the most important thing is I’m not going to allow him to cheat himself,” Sanks said. “If he wants to do nine (reps) instead of 10, I’m going to make him do 10. He’s going to hate it, but I don’t’ care.”