Priceless exposure

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It happens all the time: College scouts show up to watch a heralded high school prospect and discover a hidden gem playing for the same team.

Corey Griffin is banking on that scenario playing out for him.

Griffin is a senior safety for Sandy Creek High School in Tyrone, Ga., where he toils in the shadow of teammate Shaquille Wiggins, a four-star cornerback. Rather than envy Wiggins' fame, Griffin welcomes the exposure. He knows he'll get a chance to impress all of the recruiters who come to watch his more heralded teammate.

"It helps a lot," Griffin told InsideTennessee. "I said last year, 'Hey, you're my ticket to college. Scouts are going to come to see you and they're going to end up seeing me.'"

Although Wiggins is committed to Georgia, he exhibited lingering interest in Tennessee by joining Griffin at the Vols' recent high school camp. Perhaps the two will wind up attending the same school.

"It's possible," Griffin said. "We haven't really talked about it but it's a possibility."

Overshadowed players sometimes exhibit resentment toward a high-profile teammate. Griffin seems immune to such childish behavior. His attitude could not be better.

"I know when he shines it brings the whole team up and we all play better," Griffin said. "It helps out a lot."

Tennessee already has one player from Sandy Creek High on its roster, junior running back Rajion Neal. The Vols might add another if they were to offer Griffin a scholarship. He thoroughly enjoyed his recent visit to The Hill.

Tennessee junior Rajion Neal was rated the No. 31 running back in the country when he was at Sandy Creek High School.
(Danny Parker/
"I was pretty impressed," he said. "This was my first time up here, seeing new things. The new facility they're building, that was pretty impressive."

Some might view Griffin as leverage to try and get Wiggins. Tennessee's coaches apparently do not. They seem to value Griffin on his own merits, especially cornerbacks coach Derrick Ansley.

"I met Coach Ansley down at Sandy Creek," Griffin recalled. "He stayed on me trying to get me up here, and I finally made it up. I really feel at home with the coaches here."

That's particularly true with Ansley, who joined the Vol staff in March.

"Me and Coach Ansley have a real good relationship," Griffin said. "I can call him and talk to him about anything, not just talk football."

Although he's somewhat slender at 6-feet-1 and 180 pounds, Griffin believes he excels in run support.

"I would say I'm more aggressive toward the run," he said. "I have a lot to work on because last year I played linebacker, so this is a big transition -- linebacker to safety. I have a lot of things to work on but I'm getting it down pat."

Playing outside linebacker last fall, Griffin says he recorded 74 tackles, 2 pass breakups and 15 tackles for loss.

The switch from outside linebacker to free safety is no walk in the park. Griffin says he is working hard to master the new duties.

"I'm just learning new things, learning how to play the position," he said.

For a guy adapting to secondary day, having a fellow defensive back of Wiggins' ability is a huge plus.

"I look up to Shaq," Griffin said. "I've been knowing him since we were like six years old. Growing up with him and seeing him blow up inspired me. I've been working out with him. He's going to get me right to play safety."

Griffin lists two scholarship offers to date, Indiana and Ball State. He's also getting serious interest from Cincinnati.

"I'm just looking for somewhere that has a home feeling and I feel loved," he said.

He apparently felt very much at home during his recent stay in Knoxville.

"If Tennessee was to offer," Griffin said, "it would be one of my top schools."

Watch Griffin in action in the footage below:

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