Griffin Living The Dream

Now as a full time starter Sam Griffin has learned the lessons from high school hold merit. Working hard and staying the course has given this New Jersey native a chance to reach his dreams and then some.

You're having a big year as you're out there getting many reps this year instead of just getting some here and there.

"It's been very exciting to play at Rutgers and then come home and play in front of 30,000 was great. Each week seems like its going to get bigger and bigger."

You're a New Jersey guy, how special was it to go back to Rutgers and win that game?

"I mean they didn't want me and there is no other way to put it. They told me to walk on. It was great to go there and prove that I was one of the best out of New Jersey. Coming to Cincinnati and playing with all of these guys from Ohio that love football is great. To go back to New Jersey in front of my family and put 40 on the board was great. I couldn't ask for anything else."

The crowd was really in it at the start but you guys went down and put up the first score and never looked back. How did that make you feel?

"Coming from New Jersey I know how that feels. When there down the crowd is real quite, but if they get up the crowd won't stop, they just won't stop. The fans are great out there and I loved it. I was talking with some of the guys and Coach Kelly and I reminded them I'd gone to Don Bosco Prep so I know how that crowd acts. It was nice to do that."

Last season you had the chance to catch your old high school team in a game at St. Xavier High School. I saw you and several of your teammates and heard the talk about New Jersey football and Ohio football. New Jersey took it on the chin that day; did the guys give you a hard time?

Sam and his UC teammates at last years Bosco / X game.

"Let's put this on the record now. It was St. Xavier's fourth game of the season and Don Bosco's first game of the season. We still went on and won the rest of our games and won the state championship. That is three in a row now and I feel we're one of the best programs in the nation. If that was my class playing against St. X things would have been real different as we had several players who went on and played in college. I won't make any excuses because they lost but I don't feel people got to see what they're really all about."

While you're from New Jersey, you really were no stranger to Cincinnati or the campus. Did that help you when it came time to make your choice?

"I got to play on this field and walked around this whole campus before I had any idea I was coming here. My Don Bosco team played here when I was a senior but I didn't think at that time I would ever be coming here. The old coaching staff wasn't really recruiting me as they were more of a power team and looking for heavy, heavy guys. Coach Molnar had his eye on me when he was at Central Michigan and I didn't see myself going there so I actually committed to Delaware. I had a lot of D1-AA offers because of my weight. No one wanted to pull the trigger but Cincinnati did and I made the change. I had told the coaches at Delaware that if I received a BCS offer I would be taking it so they were prepared when it happened."

Not only are you at a BCS school you had a chance to play in a BCS game and win a Big East Championship. How special was all of that?

"It would have been real special if we'd won the Orange Bowl. I can't lie about that. It was a great feeling getting the ring and having it to show my family but I can't lie about how I feel about it."

Did you have people question you coming to Cincinnati?

"A lot of people were skeptical because Cincinnati is a basketball school and you're going for a football scholarship. But I'm from Jersey and I saw the Rutgers game when they came here ranked 7-th in the nation and lost. So that showed me they didn't care who it was because they were going to play hard and that was what I wanted from a program."

How do you feel you're development has gone since you've arrived on campus?

"I've just taken the time and put in the effort and stayed the course. Staying the course was something I learned in high school and despite my freshman and sophomore years being discouraging I knew I couldn't lose focus. Because I wasn't on the field or on the scout team it kind of left me in the middle. I always felt if I was given the chance I'd prove my worth so I just stayed the course and learned from others mistakes. When it comes to technique and strength I put my all in it. When I'm in the weight room or working on my technique I have to give it my all because of my weight; I need to be able to move a lot of weight because I'm going up against guys bigger than me so I take pride in what I do and it's something I've been working on even before I got here."

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