As you can imagine, that draws a lot of attention, both on and off the football field.
At 6-foot-2, 290-pounds, he is hard to miss. After Mill Creek’s scrimmage Friday night, Parkview linemen will attest that he is also hard to block.
The senior defensive tackle played only the first half of the scrimmage, but made his overpowering presence felt early and often. He finished with a handful of tackles and was the key cog in bottling up Parkview’s offense.
Play after play, Griffin demanded double- and triple-teams from the Parkview offensive line, but rather than getting frustrated he simply played his role – controlling the middle and allowing his fellow defenders to make plays.
Griffin earning a holding penalty against Parkview. (Wes Muilenburg/Dawg Post)
“I think I played good,” said Griffin. “Definitely, the team and our defense, we do a good job. I feel like I played hard, and I had to lead. That’s why the defense played the way it did.”
“That’s the best he’s played because he’s matured so much. He understands his role,” said Griffin’s head coach Shannon Jarvis. “As coaches, we’re not going to leave him in there getting triple-teamed. We’ll put him out there on the end. Kelsey will split a double-team a lot of times. It takes a triple-team to block him.
“His hands are better than people realize, and his feet are great. He has a great knack for the ball. Once he takes a double team, he’s still running to the ball.”
Admittedly, being the center of attention isn’t what Griffin desires off the field, but he doesn’t mind the attention from opposing teams on the gridiron.
“It really hasn’t been a big deal to me,” said Griffin about facing double- and triple-teams each game. “Usually when I’m doing a double- or triple-team, I’m just trying to get to the ball. I just play ball and play my spot and everything will fall into place.”
On Friday night, that is exactly what happened. During a play in the first half, Griffin faced a triple-team from the three Parkview interior linemen. That allowed other Mill Creek defenders to rush the quarterback. Behind the line, Parkview’s quarterback scrambled for his life before losing the football. Ten Mill Creek defenders and most of Parkview’s offensive players made a mad dash to scoop up the loose ball.
Griffin dealing with one of the many double teams on the night. (Wes Muilenburg/Dawg Post)
Back at the line of scrimmage, about 15 yards from the fumble, there was Griffin and the three Parkview linemen still trying to contain him, oblivious to the fact their services were required recovering the fumble.
On this night Griffin simply commanded that much attention.
With his playmaking ability and knack for stopping the run, Griffin has also gathered the attention from college coaches all across the southeast. Most recently, Griffin narrowed his college choices down to Georgia and South Carolina and did so in that order.
Without a timeframe for making his college decision, Griffin is focused on improving his game and winning during his final high school season.
“I definitely want to keep playing like that and get a little better – get these tweaks out and go far. We have the talent to do it, so we need to do it,” said Griffin.
At 6-foot-2, many believe Griffin is too small to play the nose guard in Georgia’s 3-4 defensive scheme. The big man and his coach quickly dismissed that notion.
“They’re recruiting me as nose and end. They haven’t said specifically, but they said I’d be playing a bit of both. I’m fine with that, so it’s not really a big deal. I’d enjoy that,” said Griffin. “I feel like I can play both. I like playing end, and I like playing nose. I’m just doing what the coaches need me to do, so it’s not a big deal to me.”
Jarvis believes Griffin will be fine regardless of his future position.
“I think he can play on the edge and inside at tackle… I think his better days are ahead of him in college because he’s going to be able to work against the best linemen in the SEC every day,” said Jarvis. “In college, he’s going to get better because he works hard at his fundamentals. He’s not a kid that’s hard-headed and won’t do what you want him to do. I know he’ll be fine in the SEC.”
Apparently Georgia and South Carolina agree, and whichever school Griffin chooses, it will have a new big man on campus.
During most of the night Griffin found his way through the offensive line. (Wes Muilenburg/Dawg Post)