Recruiting: Athlete Griffin stays close to home

Austin Bowie's <B>Michael Griffin </B>traveled around the state in June and July, but his heart and his head led him back to the hometown Horns.

"It's close to home and it's a winning program," Griffin told IT Sunday of Texas and his decision to commit to the Longhorns. "Erik Hardeman and I talked about committing at the same time because it's a real good program. There's a family atmosphere there."

Hardeman joined the Horns almost two weeks ago, while Griffin waited and surprised Mack Brown and Greg Davis with his commitment on Saturday. The head coach thought Griffin and his family wanted to meet simply to ask some questions and talk about the depth chart, the Bowie athlete said. Instead, the Longhorn coach, after going over the scholarship offer with Griffin and his family, received verbal commitment No. 12 for the class of '03.

"She liked coach Brown a lot, and my dad did too," Griffin said of his mother's reaction to her first face-to-face meeting with Brown. "Wherever I would have chosen to go, they would have supported me, but every since the first time I received the (scholarship) offer, the talk around the house has been about Texas."

Texas originally offered Griffin in early June at the end of one of UT's three-day camp sessions. At the time of the offer, Griffin told Brown that he planned to attend several other camps before making a decision, but stops in College Station, Fort Worth, Waco and Houston (for an educational seminar for athletes at Rice) simply reinforced the Horns' place at the top of his list.

Griffin measured out at 6-0 1/2, 180 and turned in a 4.48 40 (on grass) while camping on the Forty Acres. Griffin said the UT coaches told him they liked his size, speed, long arms and athleticism. He said Brown and Co. believe he is capable of adapting to multiple positions, including wideout, safety or corner. Griffin, who played mainly at tailback last year along with some spot duty at outside linebacker, safety and corner, said the Texas coaches would let him start out at wide receiver if he wanted but they also told him that his best shot at early playing time would be at safety or corner. Griffin said he'll probably try both wideout and DB once he's in the Orange and White.

Asked to describe his top football playing attributes, Griffin talked about athleticism. "I've played different sports and different positions ever since I was little," he said. "I have the ability to adapt, I have a competitive nature and I have long arms. I may not have the high vertical of some other prospects, but I've got a long wingspan."

Griffin said he believes he has the frame to add more weight. He said he went from 170 pounds last fall to 180 now, and he also said he might get a little taller, approaching the height of his 6-2 father. Griffin is working this summer on adding strength, spending time with a personal trainer while also participating in Bowie's off-season weight and running work and playing in basketball tourneys. "I'm trying to get stronger," he said. "My legs are strong from squats, but I'm working on my upper body with the bench press."

The athletic Griffin played basketball last year at Bowie and said he is thinking about playing again this fall. He also competed in track, running the second leg of both the sprint and mile relay.

Griffin's best 40 time came at A&M camp during the summer between his sophomore and junior seasons when he turned in a 4.44.

Griffin said he picked Texas over TCU, OU and A&M, and, although he hasn't had the opportunity to do so yet, he plans to call the coaches at those schools and personally inform them of his decision to attend UT. He said he doesn't plan to visit any schools aside from Texas this summer or in the fall. Although Griffin did not attend any Longhorn games last fall, he said he expects to be at DKR several times this season.

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