It took way too long for him to get the invite, but Shaquem Griffin is officially going to the NFL scouting combine after making the announcement in a video posted to his Twitter account Tuesday afternoon.
“Thank you all for all ya’ll support. The entire nation’s behind me and I couldn’t do it without you. I’m going to let you know: something special’s coming soon and you’re going to see it,” Griffin said in the video. “They invited the right one to the NFL combine. I’m going to show you. I’ve got a lot to prove. Against all odds.”
In case you aren’t familiar with Griffin’s story, he lost his left hand when he was 4 years old due to a birth defect called amniotic band syndrome. Griffin, who was named practice player of the week at the Senior Bowl and was credited with four tackles during the game, will attempt to become the first player in NFL history to be drafted with one hand.
Greg Gabriel, who has 30 years of scouting experience in the NFL, including nine years as the scouting director for the Chicago Bears, believes it will be difficult for Griffin to get drafted.
“Love the Shaquem Griffin story,” Gabriel said in a tweet on Jan. 23. “Have to pull for him but reality is it’s going to take a very forward thinking GM, coaching and medical staff for a team to draft him. Hand use is so important at NFL level.”
While it’s true Griffin will likely have difficulty adjusting to the NFL game, his production at the college level makes it hard to doubt his resiliency.
A star linebacker for Central Florida the last two seasons, Griffin made national headlines after his performance down the stretch as the Knights capped off a perfect season with a win over Auburn in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl. Griffin was named the defensive MVP in that game, and was the American Athletic Conference’s defensive player of the year in 2016.
In addition to those accolades, Griffin was named first-team All-AAC the last two seasons–accumulating 33.5 tackles for loss with 18.5 sacks–and was a second-team All-American in 2017.
Last week, San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch voiced his support for Griffin to get a combine invite.
“I would love to [see him at the combine]. I think he’s earned it,” Lynch said. “I think everyone’s watching closely. You talk to people at UCF, and they talk about a program-changer. A guy who is obviously inspiring, but not just inspiring–who was a big-time contributor.”
On-field drills for defensive linemen and linebackers at the scouting combine will take place March 4 in Indianapolis.