« Football 2017

Shaquem Griffin

School

UCF

Position
Linebacker
Major
Human Communication

Classroom

Shaquem Griffin already holds a degree in human communication and is currently working toward a second major in interdisciplinary studies with a minor in sociology.

Character

Griffin and his brother started a track club for kids back in St. Petersburg that is still running. Their parents help them run it. His career goal is to open a track/football training center in St. Petersburg to help young people in his hometown. He does any and all community service appearances requested of him and often does things without the staff at UCF even being aware. He went and spoke to the US National Football team (which he was a part of) last year before the World Championship. The only reason the staff was aware was because USA Football posted it on Twitter. He’s selfless in that way.
On Oct. 31, 2016, USA Today reported a story on Griffin, who plays without a left hand, which he lost at age 4. Below is an excerpt:
“Here’s a story that might help restore your faith in humanity. Over the weekend, University of Central Florida linebacker Shaquem Griffin met with a young fan, Julianna Linton. The two share more than the fact that they both root for UCF, however; due to Amniotic Band Syndrome, Griffin lost his left hand at age four, and Linton lost her left arm above the elbow.

“Linton, who lives in Houston, is a youth cheerleader, so the UCF cheerleading team presented her with her 3-D printed bionic arm back in March of this year (it says UCF on the side). When UCF traveled to Houston to play the Cougars this past Saturday, Linton and her family went to the game, and Linton got to cheer for the Knights down on the field. And then she got to meet Griffin, one of her heroes.

“After the game, Griffin said this at a press conference:

“‘You know, I’m blessed to have that type of feeling, to be that face, that inspiring person for others. Not just for young people, but older people — men and women. It’s a blessing for me.’

“2016 has been a doozy, but maybe not everything is so bad.”

This took place after a game where UCF held a big lead and ended up losing. It was a huge game. Griffin was devastated about the loss, but Julianna never knew it. He smiled and made her extremely happy, despite the outcome of the contest.

Community

A 2017 nominee for the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team, Griffin did work at the Boys and Girls Club before the season started. He still stops by and check on the kids when he has free time. When he has a chance to go home during the summer, he spends Monday through Thursday training his AAU track club athletes. His brother and he started the club to help the community youth excel in sports and stay on the right path. During the track season and summer they help train, tutor and mentor the kids in the club as well. The athletes range from age 5-18, competing all over the state of Florida.

Griffin has done a number of positive and motivational speaking events at his high school and a number of community recreation centers. During his fall season with UCF he has been to several schools, YMCAs and children’s hospitals to visit and talk to the children. He also spoke with the USA National Football Team, motivating them before their biggest game, and he volunteers on campus at the day care center.

In May, Griffin got involved with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) by supporting an on-campus event raising awareness against driving under the influence.

Competition

Griffin was the 2016 American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year and a 2016 All-AAC First Team honoree. He is a 2017 preseason All-America Second Team honoree. Prior to the start of this season, he was named to four preseason watch lists for national awards: the Butkus Award for the nation’s best linebacker; Nagurski Trophy for Defensive Player of the Year; Bednarik Award for the best defensive player in the nation; and the Wuerffel Trophy for achievements on and off the field.

Last season he led the team with 20.0 tackles for loss, which is tied for the third most in a single season in UCF history. He also led the Knights with 11.5 sacks, the sixth most in a season at UCF, and finished the season ranked 12th in the nation in sacks and 13th in tackles for loss.