Celebrating State Title

<b>Jacob Griffin</b> epitomizes the true meaning of a student-athlete. Disciplined, self-motivated and yes-sir, no-sir polite, Griffin boasts a 4.5-grade-point average in the classroom. Guess what? Griffin is just as impressive on the field, where the talented offensive lineman helped the Armwood Hawks become the first team in Hillsborough County to clinch a state title in 34 years. With a state title in hand, Griffin can now begin concentrating on recruiting.

Griffin and the Hawks, located in Seffner -- just outside of Tampa -- upended Lake Gibson 29-21 in the Class 4A state title game at Florida Field last Thursday. The Hawks were perfect in their quest as well, finishing 15-0.

For Griffin, a 6-foot-4, 290-pounder, the excitement remains. The school held a huge celebratory pep rally Friday. Championship rings will soon be ordered.

"It was great, just awesome -- the best feeling the world," Griffin said Sunday. "Everyone worked very hard to accomplish this goal and, for us seniors, it's neat being to able to go out on top."

Griffin also has an impressive list of collegiate offers.

While Florida State was the first program to offer, many others have followed suite.

His top five include -- and in no particular order -- the Seminoles, Florida, Tennessee, LSU and South Florida. Griffin also had visitors in school last week from Georgia Tech and Rutgers.

Griffin, who grew up a die-hard fan of UF, admitted it was neat to play his final high school game at Florida Field.

"It was neat, but not overwhelming," Griffin said. "It was just fun being there and playing in that stadium."

Griffin, who was in Tallahassee for FSU games against Colorado and Miami, also says he's impressed by the Seminoles.

But that always wasn't the case.

"Growing up, I hated the Seminoles," Griffin said and laughed.

"When they were playing UF, I wanted the Gators. But that doesn't mean I wouldn't want to go to FSU, just because I didn't like them as a kid."

Griffin has been recruited by FSU quarterbacks coach Daryl Dickey. He also plans to participate in track (shot put) this spring. While Griffin and the Hawks continue to celebrate their state title, reality kicks back in this week in a hurry.

It's exam week.

"The key is making sure you get your work done and staying on track," said Griffin, who is leaning towards studying pre-med. "If you don't, that's what messes you up."

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