The 90 Illini #84: TJ Griffin

Jun 5, 2022

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It's not often you add a recruit who went 1-23 in his high school football career. That's not a shot at TJ Griffin. This is football, and you need 21 decent players to play with your one star. But most college recruits come from high school programs who are consistently preparing their players for the next level, so a kid from a 1-23 program is rare.

We all use the term "sleeper recruit" a lot, but a player from a high school program that went 0-6 in the Covid-delayed 2020 season and 0-9 in the 2021 season is a sleeper sleeper. I kinda dig it. In fact, I have a faint memory of some NFL draft story about a player who was winless in high school.

Found it. In 2018, the Rams drafted John Franklin-Myers out of Stephen F. Austin in the fourth round. John Franklin-Myers in high school? 0-40. Now I need to know if John Franklin-Myers won a Super Bowl ring last year with the Rams. Winless in high school to Lombardi Trophy would be a cool story.

He did not. He's now with -- I swear I'm not making this up -- the New York Jets. But he did have six sacks last season. I will now hope for the same path for TJ Griffin. He was 1-23 in high school, so... seven NFL sacks.

84. TJ Griffin

Defensive Back
Uniform number: not known yet
Year in school: True Freshman (5 years to play 4)
Height: 6'-1" -- Weight: 195 lbs.
Hometown: Hickory Hills, Illinois
High School: Amos Alonzo Stagg HS
Five best offers: none published besides Illinois
Tom Cruise rating:


He mostly played wide receiver at Stagg. Well, he played both ways, but his highlights are mostly wide receiver. I noted this in the Tom Cruise link above. Pretty much all of his high school film - a bad QB under intense pressure throwing jump balls to their best athlete who is then immediately tackled because he was the only guy the needed to cover.

That kind of thing is actually encouraging to me. It's why I say sleeper sleeper above. Some kids are labeled "sleeper" recruits because every Big Ten school watched him play and passed on offering. This one is a sleeper because it's possible no other coach even saw his film.

2022 Outlook

Because of the wide receiver thing, and because he projects as a defensive back in college, he's listed down here in the 80's with the other "gonna likely need a lot of technique work" guys. The safety spot seems set for 2022, so a redshirt here is very likely.

Which means you can write the final paragraph for me. His freshman year will be eat then class then lift then class then eat then practice then eat then homework then film then sleep then eat then lift....


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