AUSTIN, Texas -- Now, several years after the fact, Mack Brown’s memory fades on how hard Texas pushed to recruit Robert Griffin III.
But the end result was Texas didn’t get the player who has become one of the nation’s most dynamic quarterbacks and Art Briles did.
Even before Briles made the move from Houston to Baylor in the November of 2007, he knew signing Griffin would be a priority to getting his campaign in Waco started off on the right foot.
“The first time I saw him in person is when he came up to camp,” the coach said. “I knew he could run because I had some friends, high school track coaches, who were watching him run. That was the first thing that caught our eye.
“Then when he came to camp, I remember after we had gone through some drills throwing, telling the coaches, ‘hey we got to hide this guy. This guy is special.’ Robert didn't stand at the back of the line, I told him to go to the front and get all the reps he wanted because I was really excited when I saw him throw the football.”
Griffin’s form wasn’t perfect but it was good enough that Briles knew he had a Big 12 quarterback on his hands.
“You can teach somebody to throw and you can teach proper pocket etiquette and form, but I haven't ever seen a slow guy get fast,” Briles said. “So we started out pretty good at that part of it.”
What Briles and Baylor have developed is one of the most exciting players in college football. Griffin has not only helped turn the program around during his four years -- he is a fourth-year junior due to a medical redshirt season -- but Briles knows that Griffin’s impact will be felt for years to come.
“[Grffin] has helped us with recruiting,” Briles said. “And having guys go first round in the draft, putting a better product on the field, getting people in the stands, all of those things make a difference in the recruiting world.”