Posted: 11:59 pm Thursday, April 24th, 2014
By Michael Carvell
Taj Griffin, who is rated as the No. 1 all-purpose running back in the nation, committed to Oregon on Thursday night.
The 5-foot-10, 165-pounder picked Oregon over Clemson, Ohio State and UGA.
“He’s one of the most explosive players in America, and (Oregon) wants to get him in space,” McEachern coach Kyle Hockman told the AJC. “He’s 0 to 60 mph in a flash. He’s strong, and one of those guys that has that desire to win. He believes he’s going to win, no matter what the circumstances are. The bigger the moment and the bigger the game, he’s able to make things happen.”
Griffin was hindered by an ankle injury during junior season but still put up respectable numbers by rushing for 1,194 yards and nine touchdowns in 14 games. While some college scouts have questioned Griffin’s durability, his high school coach praised his toughness.
“Taj had a high ankle sprain from the start of the season last year and probably wasn’t healthy until game 10,” Hockman said. “He played most of the season but we took him out when we’d get up a couple of touchdowns. He didn’t have a whole lot of touches last year and he still was very productive.
“We nursed him along, and cut down on his touches. We cut down on using him in the pass game a whole lot. He was done at halftime at probably seven of the 10 games during the regular season. He could’ve been a 2,000 or 2,500 yards if we had wanted to. But we have enough players where we don’t have to do that.
“You had the kid at Cedartown getting the back 30 or 40 times per game. But I’ve got other guys that need to touch the ball that aren’t too bad. Taj is our best, but there wasn’t any need to use him that way.”
Griffin has two older brothers that play college football – quarterback Ty Griffin at Georgia Tech and defensive end Tre Griffin at Georgia Southern.
The younger Griffin had an offer from Georgia Tech, but the Yellow Jackets didn’t make his finalists. Griffin looked hard at UGA. He expressed some early concerns about too much depth at running back with the Bulldogs but later said he would welcome the competition.
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