His hard work and patience at his position over his four-year career paid off as he completed his final season with the Wolves as the top rusher in Class 5A, while his 2,815 yards on the ground surpassed his two previous seasons combined.
“It’s always been hard work that’s got me where I am today,” Griffin said. “So I’m going to continue to work hard. I just want to be great, and I can’t be great if I don’t work hard.”
Griffin’s year as the Wolves’ featured back earned him the honor of 2018 Rome News-Tribune Offensive Player of the Year.
Griffin spent his first three seasons at running back sharing the load with Jalynn Sykes, and said getting the majority of the carries was a big difference. However, Griffin said his chemistry with his teammates and his willingness to continually better himself allowed him to step up to the challenge.
“It was a great team effort,” Griffin said. “I think everyone came together. We didn’t have the same team as last year, but we all came together.”
Rome High head coach John Reid saw Griffin’s efforts throughout his career before he rose to a highly-regarded name in Georgia recruiting in a season that saw the Wolves reach the Class 5A semifinals after winning the previous two state titles.
“He was building for this season his entire career,” Reid said. “He was patient, and it culminated in not only a great senior year, but a great career. He was unselfish and patient, and he continued to push and get stronger and faster. I think that says a ton.”
Griffin amassed 6,400 yards in his career with the Wolves and scored 104 touchdowns, which places him fifth all time in career touchdowns for Georgia running backs. Both his yardage and rushing touchdown total eclipse those of Georgia great Herschel Walker from his time playing for Johnson County.
Griffin, a North Carolina State commit, began the season as a two-star recruit and ended it as a four-star. He was recognized for his talents by earning several awards throughout the season, including being named first-team all-state, the Gatorade Georgia Football Player of the Year, the Region 7-5A MVP and a USA Today first-team All-American.
Joining Griffin on the All-Area First Team are quarterback Knox Kadum and receiver Xavier Roberts-Donaldson, his teammates throughout his time at Rome. Kadum finished his senior season going 93 of 146 for 1,633 yards and 21 touchdowns with no interceptions.
Roberts-Donaldson, who is committed to play for Kennesaw State, caught 56 passes for 1,118 yards and 16 touchdowns. The trio helped lead the Wolves to a 13-1 record and their third straight Region 7-5A title.
Aiding Rome’s offensive production this past season were first-team linemen Aiden Gaines and Quon Leslie, while Darlington’s Tate Ratledge kept opposing teams at bay for the Tigers. All three are juniors.
Leading the offensive attack for Rockmart’s historic 2018 campaign to the Class AA state championship game and 14 straight wins was senior quarterback Dylan Bailey, who had 1,577 yards passing for 23 touchdowns.
Joining him on the first team are running back Markus Smith and receiver Juke Booze, who combined for over 2,000 yards and 30 touchdowns for the Jackets.