Meet Moose: Miami walk-on Griffith has memorable nickname, lofty goals

Moose Griffith-Miami recruiting-nickname

At first glance, there wasn’t much about baby Moose Griffith to suggest he might one day grow into a 6-foot-4, 315-pound offensive lineman for a Power 5 conference program. He wasn’t notably large — certainly not large enough for Jared Griffith to earn the nickname “Moose.”

Instead, Griffith owes the fitting nickname to his grandfather.

“I wasn’t like an abnormally large baby. I was kind of normal size, but I had really big hands and feet,” Griffith told DieHards. “When my grandpa saw me, he said, ‘Moose,’ and no one understood why, but it kind of worked out because I grew into the name.”

About 10 years later, Griffith mentioned the nickname at a youth baseball practice and it stuck. Fortunately for Griffith, he found a place on the field for it to make sense.

Griffith played tackle for two seasons at Riverview High School in Sarasota, Fla., before kicking inside to guard for his final two seasons. It was at his new spot as an interior lineman where he started to gather Division I attention. The unranked guard pulled in offers from Air Force, Marshall, Southern Mississippi and Georgia Southern. Ivy League programs expressed interest and Griffith took one of his only official visits to Brown. Other FCS programs, such as Liberty and Duquesne, would give him a chance to almost certainly be a key piece of their rosters.

In the end, there were two major choices for Griffith. Brown was in the mix, but the chance to play at the Power 5 level was too much to ignore. The Riverview senior verbally committed as a preferred walk-on at Miami after an official visit to Coral Gables, Fla., on Jan. 27. His commitment became official last Wednesday as the Hurricanes announced him as one of the walk-ons set to join the team for the 2018 season.

Turning down the allure of an Ivy League school was difficult. Griffith, however, is going to college with one primary goal. Miami, he feels, will best let him achieve it.

“It was a really tough decision, honestly. It came down between Miami and Brown. If it was like a full-ride offer to Miami it would’ve been a no-brainer,” Griffith said. “It was me trying to weigh out the academic advantage of going somewhere like Brown versus the football advantage to Miami because I want to go to the league if possible. That is my dream, to make it that far and Miami will give me that edge.”

Griffith has a few major factors on his side. The most obvious is the frame that earned him his nickname: For an interior lineman, 6-4 is plenty big. Next is his versatility: Riverview coach Josh Smithers told DieHards he can see Griffith playing center, which is where he probably would’ve put him if he hadn’t needed him at guard.

But the most important factor probably is Griffith’s room for improvement. The lineman won’t turn 18 until his freshman season with the Hurricanes. Couple his age with his relative inexperience and Griffith could rapidly improve once he arrives at Miami.

“He’s only played four years of football,” Smithers said. “Very little football experience. Was a baseball player growing up.”

He will still join the Hurricanes with a hope — and an expectation — to compete for playing time early. Griffith is as strong in the weight room as just about anyone in Florida. He heads into weightlifting season as a favorite to earn a medal. He’ll only get stronger once he arrives on campus, and knows adding speed will be his next priority.

It won’t be easy to crack an interior line rotation that will be bolstered by two 4-star guards in the Class of 2018. But there’s a reason Griffith chose Miami: He’s searching for a challenge.

“If I work hard and earn the playing time, I’m going to get it,” Griffith said. “I think I’ll have a chance to get a decent amount of playing time in the future, and hopefully by my sophomore or junior year, I’ll be starting.”

The post Meet Moose: Miami walk-on Griffith has memorable nickname, lofty goals appeared first on Diehards.

Thank you for reading the Springfield News-Sun and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to your daily ePaper and premium newsletters.

Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Springfield News-Sun. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.