Chicago native and Scout100 defensive back Houston Griffith now patrols the secondary at IMG Academy in Florida and it has helped his recruitment with programs in the South. Alabama recruits the program heavily and extended an offer to the rising senior on June 12.
The offer is new, but not his relationship with one coach within the Crimson Tide program is far from it.
"I've been talking to them for a long time," Griffith said. "Coach (Derrick) Ansley, the defensive backs coach at Alabama, he offered me back when he was at Kentucky. He always told me that if he was at a new school, he was going to find me and he was going to offer me a scholarship.
"That's exactly what he did, he held his word to me and I got offered by Alabama."
Coaches from just about every Power 5 program, including Alabama, evaluated IMG in the spring and the offer news came down soon after. He has been to Tuscaloosa already.
"I've been there twice, it's a nice place with great facilities," he said. "Coach (Nick) Saban and them know what they're doing and you see why they have all the success they have in the past."
During the visits and evaluation periods, the 6-foot, 190-pound Griffith was able to reconnect with Ansley.
"I like coach Ansley, he keeps it real and you know the guys he has at Alabama means he's going to keep producing," he said. "Those guys are going to the league and will be successful off the field. I've talked to him many times and when I talk one-on-one with him he just keeps it real.
"He's just gonna be him."
Like most of the schools in his top group, the four-star is being coveted as a pure defensive back. It's not about safety, where Scout projects him, versus cornerback.
"I'm a defensive back, I can play it all," he said.
Griffith showcased his ability at either spot over the weekend at the NFA 7v7 National Championships (video above) while playing for BOOM, one of the marquee programs in the offseason circuit.
"It just helps to show that I'm a more versatile player and that I'm real athletic and I can make plays," he said. "I just want to come out and compete with my brothers, I've been with these guys since middle school.
"Since I don't go to high school with them, back in Illinois, it's just another time to compete with those guys down here and 7-on-7."
BOOM finished in the final four of the event, one of the last of the offseason. Griffith will shift focus back to IMG Academy and continue taking visits to narrow his list from seven programs. He spent time at Ohio State and Florida State last week and will return to Tallahassee for an official visit in mid-September, the only trip he has locked in at this time.
"I just want to continue to build relationships with coaches and go from there and make a commitment," he said.
Griffith expects to make a decision "mid-season."