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Star running back Derrick Green practices Bikram Yoga in his spare time

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Hermitage (Henrico, Va.) star running back Derrick Green is a busy guy these days.

When he’s not outrunning his opponents under Friday Night Lights, you can find Green running from class, to practice and then home, where lately he’s been welcoming college coaches for in-home visits.

The elite football prospect says he’s narrowed his college choices down to six schools: Michigan, Tennessee, Auburn, Miami, Oregon and Ole Miss.

Overwhelming? You’d think so, but Green has mastered the delicate balancing act that comes with the territory of being one of the nation’s top recruits.

“It’s a blessing,” Green says. “I’m grateful for it all.”

And even during his rare downtime, you won’t find Green relaxing. Well, not at home on his couch. Rather, on a mat, where Green spends part of his Sundays practicing Bikram Yoga, a routine he’s maintained since his sophomore season.

Green, who will participate in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, took a breather to tell us why it helps and what else keeps him healthy and ready for high-level play.

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Why choose to invest yourself during your days off?

All great athletes do extra to help them be successful. You’ve got to be strong in the mind. There’s always someone behind me trying to get my spot, so I think about that anytime I want to relax or not go as hard.

How has Bikram Yoga contributed to improving your athleticism?

Yoga has been great. It’s helped with my flexibility, controlling my breathing and staying injury-free. It’s definitely helped with my explosiveness, too.

What’s been the greatest shift in your approach to preparation?

My diet is something I’ve matured into. Freshman year, I came in at 268, and I just knew I couldn’t be a running back at [that weight]. Going into my sophomore season, I did a 360 and started training more intensely and got on a diet. I don’t eat any fried foods or drink soda. I eat a lot of grilled food, fish, salads and drink a lot of water.

Tell us about your training. What’s at the core?

All my running comes from my legs, so I do a lot of lower-body workouts — squats, leg presses — to make sure my legs are toned and ready to play. I also do a lot of sled pulls and parachute workouts and cone work to make sure my cuts are right.

For athletes who want to prove themselves like you have, what advice can you offer?

Go above and beyond by doing extra outside of football, like running after practice and watching what you eat. It’s all about the stuff people don’t see when you’re not on the field.

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