Mission Viejo (Calif.) sophomore-to-be-junior Olaijah Griffin used Sunday’s Empire Showcase to display his skills on both sides of the football to coaches from a dozen different colleges.
USC was one of those colleges. Represented by head coach Clay Helton, offensive coordinator Tee Martin and defensive backs coach Ronnie Bradford. While Helton and Martin left the camp early, Bradford stuck around to watch the defensive backs.
His evaluation turned into a scholarship offer for Griffin.
“I was just trying to show the college coaches what I can do,” said Griffin. “I wanted show them that I could play both sides of the ball.
“I like playing receiver and cornerback equally, but when it comes to the point of choosing, I’ll let the coaches do that. The camp was just about showing off my athletic ability and it worked out.”
Griffin already holds scholarship offers from Michigan, UCLA, Cal, Arizona, Arizona State and Oregon. Sunday, head coaches from USC, Cal and Texas A&M were on hand to watch him work out.
“It doesn’t really change things,” said Griffin. “I can tell when the coaches like me or are watching me close though.
“I can tell SC and Texas A&M and UCLA. I really tried to make a good impression for all of the coaches, but I think those coaches were the most interested watching me.”
UCLA and USC already offered Griffin scholarships, but the Aggies are a school with a unique angle in recruiting the 6-foot, 170-pound four-star cornerback.
“I know they have a good agriculture program, and that’s my thing,” said Griffin. “That’s something I’m interested in majoring in, so I’d like to go down there and check that out.”
UCLA defensive backs coach Demetrice Martin helped run several of the defensive back drills at the camp. With the Bruins having offered Griffin a scholarship coming into the camp, the dynamic between the two was different than it was with other coaches.
“I just wanted to show them that I’ve been working hard and trying to improve since they offered me,” said Griffin. “It was good. He was just trying to show me different ways of playing the position.
“I don’t really work on my technique much because I’m focused on getting bigger. But he was showing me how to get better.”
Griffin plans to camp with both UCLA and USC this summer. He may even unofficially visit USC before the camps.
“I do want to take a visit to SC soon,” said Griffin. “I’ve been there before, but I really want to see the academic programs and that whole side of things.
“I have a couple of friends there in Jack Jones and Iman Marshall. We talk about SC sometimes, but I need to take a visit and see for myself. I also want to go take a visit to Cal-Berkeley at some point too.”
While his scholarship offer from USC was described as a major milestone in his recruitment, it was not an unexpected one.
“I knew they had been looking at me,” said Griffin. “I felt good about them offering me after the camp, but I just had to wait.
“They’ve been telling me they really like me and to be patient. Getting an offer from SC is really big because my family really loves SC. My grandpa is a big USC fan, so getting that offer really makes him happy.”