Before his days at the University of Central Florida, Shaquem Griffin was a two-sport standout at Lakewood High School in St. Petersburg. Griffin won the 2A state championship in the triple jump and followed that up with a title in the long jump as a senior in 2013.
Alongside his brother Shaquill, a fellow UCF football standout, now playing in the NFL for the Seattle Seahawks, former Florida Gator and Nike professional hurdler T.J. Holmes, the Spartans edged out Booker T. Washington by ONE point to emerge victorious in the team standings.
Fast forward four years later and Griffin is still showcasing that speed in his final game at UCF. As the Knights approach the 50th Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl New Years Day in Atlanta, he told us speed is something this team is really big on.
"Having a track background, football players do that to stay in shape and have good form to transition to football," Griffin said. "Obviously, it plays a big part. But you know you're going against a team with speed also, and you have to make sure that we come ready and we ready to go fast every single play."
While Griffin has the most respectable track background on defense, Adrian Killins one ups him on offense. The former Mainland High School Buccaneer won 200m state titles as a junior and senior and finished runner-up in the 100 in both years. His 10.49 and 20.16 are blazing fast and translate to explosive playmaking on the football field. He wasn't shy about the issue of speed earlier this month.
The sophomore was coach Scott Frost's first commitment from the class of 2016 and he's been as good as advertised. This season he leads the team in rushing yards with 762 and rushing touchdowns with 10 an an average of 6.8 yards per carry.
"A.K. is really fast. I'm really fast," Griffin noted. "The team is really fast. They don't call us UC Fast for nothing."