Since beginning his head coaching career, Rich Rodriguez has always been known to prefer speed over size. Guys like Pat White, Steve Slaton and Denard Robinson have played and thrived in Rich Rod’s spread option scheme. Now the head coach at Arizona, Rodriguez is looking for the next guy to bring speed to the offense and wins to his new home in the desert.
Many believe that Rodriguez has found player after receiving a commitment from a skilled, three-star receiver out of Orlando on Monday night.
Of course if it were just any other player, chances are pretty good we wouldn’t be talking about it here at Crystal Ball Run. But when the player is quite possibly more famous than the coach? Now we’re onto something.
The kid’s name is Trey Griffey, and if the name sounds familiar, that’s because his father and grandfather are both pretty famous athletes in their own right. Of course their forte wasn’t football, but instead on the baseball diamond, where Ken Griffey and his son Ken Griffey Jr. were both multiple time All-Stars, with Jr. one of the greats of his generation.
Well now, it’s the youngest Griffey’s chance to shine, and he has elected to do it on the gridiron. The Under Armour All-American chose the Wildcats over schools like Michigan State, Iowa State and Arizona’s cross-state rivals, Arizona State as well. And according to his coach Under Armour All-Star Game, former All-Pro wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson, the Wildcats seem to be getting a heck of a player.
As reported in the Tucson Citizen, Johnson told USA Today:
“First of all, you know you’re dealing with an exceptional athlete,” former Pro Bowl receiver Keyshawn Johnson, who helped coach in the game, told USA Today. “It’s in the genes. You can see it. … He belongs here.”
Maybe the most interesting thing about Griffey though, is that up until just a few short months ago, his name was much more famous than his game. After three relatively uneventful years at West Orange High School in Winter Garden, FL, he transferred to famed Dr. Phillips in Orlando hoping for a fresh start. The school had been 14-1 the previous year, but returned virtually no one off that team.
Enter Griffey, who blew up like few players across the country this past fall, finishing the 2011 season with 74 catches and just under 1,000 yards. Included were a school record 13 catches for 188 yards against Freedom High School on November 4. Now, just a few months after being an unknown, Griffey is taking his talents to Tucson as part of Rodriguez’s first recruiting class. The Wildcats are coming off a disappointing 4-8 season that saw former coach Mike Stoops get fired.
Whether Griffey will ever be a contributor at Arizona, only time will tell. However, there is no doubt that his heart is into football. The youngest in a baseball playing family, apparently hasn’t considered taking his talents to the diamond in some time now.
From the Tucson Citizen:
“At first, all I wanted to do was play baseball,” Trey told the USA Today earlier this month, while preparing for the Under Armour All-America Game.
“But as I got older, my dad told me, ‘You have to choose the sport you want to play.’ I said I want to play football. Once I turned 11, I was done with baseball.”
In hindsight, it all seems like a pretty smart decision.
For all his opinion, insight and articles on college football and beyond, please follow Aaron Torres on Twitter @Aaron_Torres.