After having his hand amputated at the age of 4, Shaquem Griffin continues to prove doubters wrong, winning the AAC defender of the year award as a red shirt junior.
A one-handed football player receiving a scholarship to play Division 1 football feels more like a Disney movie than real life, but it seems not even Disney could have written a better script. Griffin not only received a scholarship to the University of Central Florida, he’s excelled on the field, proving wrong anybody who doubted him because of his disability.
The UCF Knights finished the 2015 season 0-12 and Shaquem Griffin had only 25 total tackles. In 2016 Griffin made his first start at linebacker and never looked back, finishing the season with 85 tackles, a conference leading 11 sacks and one amazing interception. The Knights finished the 2016 season Bowl eligible at 6-6, and they have Griffin’s breakout season to thank for their quick turnaround.
This is a big jump for any player, but when you consider Griffin is doing all of this without his left hand, (which due to a rare disease had to be amputated when he was 4), we have to acknowledge this as one of the most impressive feats in sports history.
The Knights will face Arkansas State in the Cure Bowl, and all eyes will be on the College footballs most inspiring story. Not to get too sappy, but Griffin’s journey should be a reminder to never give up on your dreams. His football career has been an uphill climb, but he has now begun to the get the recognition he rightfully deserves, as a kick ass football player and inspiration to millions.
Griffin will more than likely return to UCF for his senior season, and with the the Defensive Player of the Year award already in his trophy case he will be looking to build his resume for the NFL draft.
He’ll continue to be dissected by NFL scouts and will no doubt be considered a risky pick, if taken at all, but Griffin has continued to prove doubters wrong his entire life, why stop now?