No matter how many times people have attended the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, they'd be hard pressed to remember a player quite like Shaquem Griffin of UCF. If you don't know his story, he was born with a membrane wrapped around his left hand. As a four year old, the pain in that left hand was unbearable so his family chose to have his hand amputated. That seemingly should've ended his football career, but Griffin never let that happen. He eventually earned a scholarship to UCF, alongside his twin brother Shaquill. After two seasons of being a backup, Griffin was given the chance to start in 2016 and he never looked back.
Yes, I said the young man with no left hand became a superstar. He finished the 2017 season with 74 tackles, 13.5 tackles for a loss and seven sacks. He also had one interception and a scoop and score fumble recovery touchdown. He did all of that for the 13-0 Peach Bowl champions. But, he's more than just a good story, this is a football playing dude. I watched him completely destroy Auburn's tackles with a flurry of speed, spin moves and quickness. He finished with 1.5 sacks and 3.5 tackles for a loss against the SEC West champions in that undefeated season clinching win.
It's hard to watch him and not notice the absence of his left hand. It's also relatively easy to see that he excels with the best in the world of college football. He was a spinning, whirling dervish this week rushing the quarterback against players 80-90 pounds heavier than him. Then, he played safety on Wednesday and did a fairly solid job.
He was one of the most requested players at the Senior Bowl. He knew why people wanted to talk to him and he handled every media and/or team interview with class and a smile on his face. He ultimately just wants to be Shaquem Griffin, NFL player, like his twin brother is in Seattle. I don't ultimately know what position he's going to play at the next level but would you bet against him?
Yeah, I didn't think so. I wouldn't either.
Check out some of the best shots from Senior Bowl practice in Mobile, Alabama. (Photo credit: AP Images.)