Washington Redskins rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III represents what good can come from unflinching diligence.
Griffin, the No. 2 pick of the 2012 NFL Draft, ranks second in the league in passer rating, set the NFL rookie record for rushing yards by a QB and has the Redskins on the cusp of their first NFC East title since 1999.
But flash back to 2008 when Griffin was a senior at Copperas Cove (Texas), and nobody predicted this.
Griffin wasn’t even a Top 100 national football recruit – in fact, he was only ranked No. 42 in Texas, according to Rivals. Most of his college interest came for his track exploits; he set state records in the 110- and 300-meter hurdles as a junior to earn Gatorade Texas Boys Track & Field Athlete of the Year honors.
Uncanny dedication helped Griffin prove football recruiting analysts wrong, starting with his Heisman-worthy career at Baylor.
“He was always working,” said Griffin’s high school coach, Jack Welch. “I don’t think he really knew how good he really could be. He pushed himself.”
Griffin played freshman ball, then rode the bench on varsity as a sophomore. He finally beat out Logan Brock – now a tight end with the Houston Texans – for the starting quarterback job as a junior thanks to his freakish speed and arm strength, according to Welch.
Even after winning the job, Griffin knew he couldn’t just rely on his athletic gifts.
He’d practice after practice, running sprints alongside the road and pulling a tire before going home to watch film — the same film he’d seen at practice, but from a different angle.
Griffin’s mom filmed every football practice from the sideline during his junior and senior seasons, and Griffin would scrutinize the footage with his father.
That dedication even carried over to his diet. Welch said Griffin would bring a healthy prepared lunch and post-workout snack every day.
“That was not by accident,” Welch says. “I’ve never seen somebody be that detailed all day every day."
Griffin’s focus drove him away from partying. After games, he often shot pool with teammates at Welch’s house. The only running around he did was toward his athletic ambitions.
“His drive is what’s pushing him to the top,” Welch said. “I’ve been telling people all along, ‘Where’s the limit?' You haven’t seen the greatest of him yet."
For more on Griffin's journey, visit www.nfl.com/etp.