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Wednesday, March 20, 2013
2015 ATH Griffin gets unexpected news

By Kipp Adams

Last season, running back Taj Griffin (Powder Springs, Ga./McEachern) says he only had about six or seven carries per game for the Indians, but the 5-foot-9, 175-pound athlete was still able to tally 645 yards and seven touchdowns.

He followed it up with an outstanding showing at the Atlanta SPARQ Combine, posting a 4.43 40-yard dash, 4.15 shuttle, and a 40.9-inch vertical jump. The 40-yard dash and vertical jump marks were the best by a running back so far on the 2013 combine circuit. Since then, he has picked up four offers, including Missouri, North Carolina and UCLA.

Not bad for a sophomore.

Still, Griffin admits he was not prepared when his head coach, Kyle Hockman, approached him between classes Tuesday.

“He said I needed to make a phone call,” Griffin said. “I asked him who and he said Mark Richt. So I called him and said, ‘Hey coach, what’s up? He said, 'I just got finished watching your tape and, that after watching it a bunch of times, I really liked it and said we need to offer this kid. So I want to offer you a scholarship.’ He just went on about how I would fit in their program and that he would talk to me more about how they would use me at running back when I visit.”

His recruiter of record, offensive line coach Will Friend, then congratulated him on the scholarship and expressed his excitement for the 2015 prospect, as did the running backs coach Bryan McClendon.

“Coach Friend said he hopes I commit, keep my head on straight and continue to make good grades,” Griffin said. “Then I spoke to the running backs coach (Bryan McClendon) and he also talked about how excited he was about me and to keep my grades up. He said I could be a big factor for their program and that he would find ways to get me on the field.”

The fact that he now had an offer to play for the University of Georgia was special to Griffin because of who delivered the news.

“Getting the offer from the Bulldogs’ head coach is what made it really exciting,” Griffin said. “I thought they must really be interested in me and that is pretty cool that I was having a regular conversation with the guy I always watch on T.V.”

Griffin visited Georgia in December for their first junior day, and he was impressed by the staff’s approach to student-athlete development.

“They don’t get much bigger than that as far as an offer from Georgia, so I was really excited and it felt like my hard work was finally paying off.  Their strength and conditioning program is really good and I remember one of their coaches, Justin Lovett, came in from the Denver Broncos. They all seem to know what they are talking about and they seem to really be in it to help the student-athletes.”

Once it set in what had occurred, Griffin had another call to make.

“As soon as I came out of the field house I called my mom and she was really happy,” Griffin said. “My family was just as excited as I was about the offer. Both of my brothers, one at Georgia Southern (defensive lineman Tre Griffin) and one that just signed with Georgia Tech (quarterback Ty Griffin), were really excited for me. It would be pretty cool to play against both of them if I went to Georgia.”

Griffin hopes to attend one of the spring scrimmages at Georgia in the next few weeks.