Redshirt Junior Shaquem Griffin has become a household name because of his athletic prowess at the Scouting Combine for National Football League prospects. Griffin played for the University of Central Florida Knights most recently, earned the defensive Most Valuable Player award for the 2018 Peach Bowl. He registered 74 total tackles, seven total sacks, along with three passes defended to anchor the UCF defense. The Knights would go on to finish the 2017-18 season with an undefeated record of 13-0, and 8-0 in the American Conference.
Going into the Combine, Griffin had the same mentality as any other college football player hoping to be drafted, which is to prove their worth to NFL general managers. The former UCF linebacker would take everyone by surprise and improve his draft stock after his stellar performance. He ran a 4.38 40-yard dash which is the fastest by a linebacker since 2003, according to ESPN. He also had a nine-foot, nine-inch broad jump which further displayed his athleticism.
The most impressive feat by Griffin was that he recorded 20 repetitions for the bench press. At first glance, that may not be impressive, but there is one fact that makes the former college star different. He lost his left hand due to a rare prenatal condition, so he put up 20 reps of 225 pounds using a prosthetic left hand. That was a display of pure chest strength and he continues to prove his doubters wrong.
Even though the linebacker will most likely not be drafted in the first or second round of this year’s NFL Draft, it is definitely worth noting that Griffin is an example that no matter the adversity, a player can be given a shot at the professional level. If he is drafted, he will be the first NFL player drafted with only one functioning hand. He is surely giving all 32 general managers a good reason to make him a part of their 53-man roster. Griffin and other NFL prospects will learn of their fate when the NFL Draft arrives on Thursday, April 26.