There’s some positive news about this weekend’s scary-looking knee injury to Taj Griffin, who is rated as the nation’s No. 1 all-purpose running back.
The McEachern High School standout injured his knee while trying to make a tackle on punt coverage in one of the final plays of 52-49 loss to North Gwinnett in a thrilling Corky Kell Classic game that ended in the wee hours of Sunday morning.
There were some initial fears that Griffin, who committed to Oregon over Clemson and UGA, might’ve experienced some type of damage to his knee that would threaten the rest of his senior season of high school football.
However, Griffin’s father told the AJC on Sunday that he had reasons to be optimistic about the situation.
“I really think it’s a light sprain of his knee,” Herb Griffin said. “I really don’t think it’s anything major, based on the way the evaluation went last night with the physical therapist. We’re going to get an MRI as a precaution on Monday, and go from there.
“The good news is that next week we have a bye week so he’ll have some time to rest it. We’re actually heading out to Oregon this weekend for his official visit. We have two weeks to get ready for the Buford game. I don’t know if he’ll make it back by the Buford game, depending on what the MRI says. But I anticipate him playing against Lovejoy in three weeks. I’ll be surprised if he’s not playing back in the Lovejoy game.”
The story continues below this video. In the interview taped a few day ago, Griffin opens up about how big of a deal it was to him that Oregon signed his brother, former Georgia Tech quarterback Ty Griffin, to a football scholarship this summer.
Up until the injury, Griffin was living up to the hype: He had three touchdowns in the first quarter against North Gwinnett, and finished the game with 138 yards rushing. The injury was scary, especially after Griffin was hindered for most of last year’s regular season with an ankle injury.
“He’s concerned,” his father said. “Anytime you’re talking about a knee with running back or any football player, especially one that relies on his explosiveness and quickness like he does … any tweak of the knee is a thing of concern for him. I told him last night ‘Listen, calm down. This is part of football. You’re going to tweak things. As long as you’re not tearing or blowing something out, it’s all good.’ I think it’s more of that than anything. If does anything to his knee, he gets a little nervous.”
Some fans were complaining that Griffin’s injury was related to him playing in a game that ended around 1:40 a.m. Sunday because the other Classic games earlier in the day either ran late or went into overtime.
“No, it wasn’t an issue,” his father said. “Yes, it was kind of ridiculous how late we were playing, but the time was not a factor at all. To me, that’s silly. He was well rested. I don’t contribute the injury to him playing late. That’s part of every player’s career, whether it’s high school, college or the NFL – you’re going to get late games. That was absolutely not a contributing factor.”
Griffin is rated as a 5-star by 247sports.com. In the 247sports.com composite rankings (which combines the four recruiting services), Taj is rated as a 4-star and the state’s No. 6 overall prospect.
- RELATED: Creekside High School offensive lineman Venzell Boulware committed to Tennessee over Ohio State on Saturday.
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