Jamious Griffin

Becoming the Wolves featured back this season, Jamious Griffin ran for 2,815 yards and 38 touchdowns to lead all rushers in Class 5A. / File-Steven Eckhoff

The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence but also academic achievement and exemplary character on and off the field, is presented by The Gatorade Company and makes Griffin a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Football Player of the Year award to be announced later this month.

The list of past award winners at the state level include Emmitt Smith, Peyton Manning and Matthew Stafford, while recent Georgia Players of the Year are Cartersville’s Trevor Lawrence — now the starting quarterback at Clemson — and University of Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm.

The 5-foot-9, 205-pound senior was named a finalist for the Touchdown Club of Atlanta’s Mr. Georgia Football Award earlier this week. The winner will be announced at the club’s year-end awards banquet Jan. 24, 2019, in Atlanta.

Griffin rushed for 2,815 yards and 38 touchdowns on 288 carries this season, leading Rome (13-1) to the Class 5A semifinals and becoming the most prolific running back in Class 5A.

His rushing total places him fifth on Georgia’s list of top single-season rushing performances, and his career total of 104 rushing touchdowns puts him fifth all-time in Georgia football history and ahead of University of Georgia legend Herschel Walker.

A devoted member of his church community, Griffin has volunteered on behalf of area elementary schools.

“Jamious Griffin is a special player on the field,” said Billy Shackelford, head coach at East Paulding High, which has been in Rome’s region the last three seasons. “He runs with power and speed, and also does a great job blocking and catching the ball out of the backfield.”

Griffin has maintained a 3.04 GPA in the classroom. He has verbally committed to play football on scholarship at North Carolina State next fall.

The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states that sanction high school football, girls’ volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys’ and girls’ basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball, and boys and girls track and field, and awards one National Player of the Year in each sport.

From the 12 national winners, one male and one female athlete are each named Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year. In all, 607 athletes are honored each year.

As a part of Gatorade’s cause marketing platform “Play it Forward,” Griffin has the opportunity to award a $1,000 grant to a local or national youth sports organization of his choosing.