One has to be extremely talented to play Division I football at the college level, and that's exactly why 3-star safety Shaquem Griffin was recruited by Central Florida. The fact that he only has one hand has nothing to do with it.
If you're looking for a sports hero to root for in the next few seasons of college football, you've found your guy.
Griffin is 6'1'', 183 pounds and runs a 4.65 40, according to Rivals. He has the size to be a shutdown cornerback and the speed to stick with receivers in the open field. He also only has one hand, but that hasn't stopped him from earning a Division I scholarship.
On Wednesday, the Lakewood (FL) High School safety and Rivals three-star prospect signed with Central Florida along with his twin brother, CB Shaquill Griffin. (The Griffins were recruited in tandem and received scholarship offers from 14 mid-major schools.)
Shaquem was born with Amniotic Band Syndrome, in which a portion of the amniotic sac wraps around an in utero fetus’ hand and deforms it. Griffin painfully endured ABS until he was four, when doctors removed his left hand.
Yet again, here's another example of strength, perseverance, determination and what can only be imagined as a great outlook on life.
To truly appreciate how awesome this story is, it's important to understand the reality of football. It's a rough, physical game, and when push comes to shove, there's no room for sympathy on the field.
Also, it's important to understand the realities of recruiting. Coaches keep or lose their jobs depending on how well they can recruit, and scholarships are obviously extremely valuable. Scholarships aren't just given away; they have to be earned.
I guarantee that Collins had to fight, work and stand out for this scholarship. I guarantee that he had to prove himself on the field, on the practice field, in training and in the film room.
He earned his way into UCF's football program, and I won't be surprised when he earns his way onto the field.
Receiving a Division I scholarship as a football player is a very impressive feat.
Doing it with just one hand?