Shaquem Griffin has changed peoples’ minds since he was born. Performing at the 2018 NFL Combine was no different. This 6’1” 227lb defensive back from the undefeated University of Central Florida came to impress. Running the fastest 40-yard dash by a linebacker since the 2003 NFL Combine at 4.38 seconds and repping 225lbs on the bench press 20 times… all with just one hand.
Beginning his career as a human on July 20, 1995, Shaquem and his twin brother Shaquill Griffin were ready to attack the world. But later on when Shaquem was just 4 years old, due to a congenital condition, surgeons had to amputate his left hand. Once recovered from surgery, Shaquem never quit on his dreams to become an NFL football player.
Later, both Shaquem and Shaquill received scholarships to UCF for football after playing and competing in baseball, track and football at Lakewood High in St. Petersburg Florida. After watching Shaquill play his first year while Shaquem red shirted, he was fired up to compete. Shaquem made his way through the ranks to starting defensive back through hard work, determination and skill. In an interview with The Players’ Tribune, he attributes most of his success to the coaching staff switch for the 2016 and 2017 seasons to Scott Frost. “Coach Frost came in and brought me back into the light…He gave me the opportunity I had been waiting for ever since I first arrived at UCF. And I took advantage of it.”
Just this last football season The University of Central Florida boys were able to break a college football record by completing the entire College Football season undefeated at 13-0. Marching all the way into the Peach Bowl and beating the Auburn Tigers 34-27. Shaquem took home the game MVP for defense and later after the game declared his intent to continue his football dream in the NFL.
As the time for the draft drew closer, Shaquems’ invitation still hadn’t arrived. Sports analysts were starting to chatter when finally, the invitation came. And with that late invitation, Shaquem Griffin again showed that he belongs with the best. Cesar Calvillo a freshman at Snow said this about Griffins’ performance, “It gives us big guys a hero to back… and it’s awesome that he is doing what he is doing. He can be a hero for just about anyone.”
Shaquem Griffins performance his whole life and especially recently has proven that even though life deals you a bad hand, if you want it bad enough you can make something great. Having several highlight performances of the Combine, Griffin is projected to go first round and continue to make the mark of a champion.