Jonovan Griffin: His Coach's Take

GoPokes.com has interviewed the high school coach for each of the Oklahoma State commitments in the days leading up to National Signing Day. In this installment of "His Coach's Take," we visit with Boyd High School head coach Don Drake about Jonovan Griffin, a 5-11, 175-pound athlete from McKinney, Texas.

What are his strengths as a football player?
Don Drake: He's extremely fast and athletic. He's a very shifty athlete who catches the ball extremely well with great vision and great hand-eye coordination.

What do you believe will be his biggest challenge in going from high school to playing in the Big 12?
Don Drake: When you're a kid like him on the high school field he's going to probably be one of the better athletes on the field in terms of his speed and everything else. I thing the biggest challenge will just be adjusting to the speed of the game. There are going to be more kids on the field who are just as athletic as him, and it's not going to be as big of a separation between himself and the players he's accustomed to playing against. I think a lot of his success will depend on making sure his technique is superb because that separation of athleticism is not going to be as large as certain times during his high school career.

Was there one game, or maybe even one play, during his career that you'll always remember?
Don Drake: He's so good with the ball in his hands. There are so many runs that he's made. He tucks the ball in and goes and you just say, ‘Wow. Where in the world did that come from?' He played quarterback for us, so he'd be in the pocket and just escaping the pocket and making some runs that left you just scratching your head and saying, ‘Wow, I wish I could do that.' To be real honest, it would be hard for me to narrow it down to one that I can just pinpoint and say that's the best I've seen because it's the number of times he touched the ball he made plays like that all the time. Maybe if it was another kid you're not accustomed to seeing it from, you'd go, ‘Wow, that was pretty amazing.' But after watching him for three years doing it, it's kind of like there he goes again.

What are three words that describe him as a football player?
Don Drake: Exciting, competitor, and determined.

Why do you think he chose Oklahoma State?
Don Drake: He went there for a one-day camp over the summer and I think he was just really, really impressed with the campus, the athletic facilities, and Coach Gundy is doing a great thing up there with putting them on the map. You can see the excitement surrounding the Oklahoma State program just over the last couple of years. It just keeps progressively taking the next step. It's the whole experience – you're playing in the Bib 12, you got great facilities, you got a great coaching staff, it's a time that's on the rise in his opinion and a lot of people. So I think all those things are draws for him. I think the fact he can go there and it's not so far away from home that his parents can't get up there to watch him play, and he can't get home for a break. I think all those are important factors.

Over the course of his college career, whether it be four or five years, what do you expect him to accomplish?
Don Drake: They recruited him as a corner. One thing I'm curious to see is how long it takes them to put the ball in his hands and see what he can do on the offensive side of the ball as well. I definitely think he has the ability to play corner and do a great job there, but I think when you watch him play on the offensive side too you look at what he's capable of doing whether he's a kick returner or punt returner or some other type of skill position where he's got an opportunity to score some points for you. I expect a lot of exciting plays. Obviously, he's young and he's got a lot to learn ... but he's extremely athletic and I really do expect big things from him. I expect him to be one of those guys who you turn on the television and watch him make plays, and then say, ‘That guy played here for us.'

What will you remember the most about coaching him?
Don Drake: I think in terms of watching him perform just an opportunity for something exciting to happen on every snap. I think that's a memory that I definitely will have. He's a kid that's fun to watch play. Then, just like with other kids, because just the amount of time you spend with them just in conversation about whatever it may be, whether it be football or other things in life, just the time you get to spend with them and get to know them personally, and the times you get to laugh and joke and build a relationship with them. That's the thing I miss about any of these kids when they leave.


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