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Jonah Griffin, A Versatile Ballhawk

By Barry Every
SouthernPigskin.com
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The rising senior racked up eight tackles, two PBU’s and had a key interception in the win over the Purple Hurricane, in last year's state championship.

Savannah (Ga.) Benedictine was one of only three undefeated teams in the Peach State in 2016. They capped off a perfect (15-0) season in convincing fashion with a 49-26 win over Fitzgerald (GA.) in the GHSA-AA State Championship Game. It marked the school's second State Title in three years under Coach Danny Britt. His defensive unit shared a majority of the glory by holding opponents to under ten points per contest.

Leaving his mark in the Georgia Dome was 5-foot-10, 175-pound safety Jonah Griffin. The rising senior racked up eight tackles, two PBU’s and had a key interception in the win over the Purple Hurricane. On the season he finished with 70 tackles, seven PBU’s, four FF’s and three INT’s and two FR’s.

Griffin parlayed his performance into an invite to the prestigious Georgia Junior Elite Classic held December, 29 in Powder Springs, Georgia. There he again demonstrated his proliferation as ballhawk racking up three tackles while picking off one pass in the National’s 38-7 win over Team America.

“Jonah is an extremely athletic, smart and has tremendous ball skills,” Britt said. “He also has the ability to be a very good return guy at the next level.”

At this time Griffin possesses offers from Cornell, Navy, Stetson and NAIA Preseason #3 ranked Reinhardt. He is also receiving heavy interest from Appalachian State, Central Michigan, Charleston Southern, Coastal Carolina, Furman, Georgia Southern and Western Kentucky.

In the classroom he boasts a 3.5 weighted GPA, which probably is why high level academic schools such as Cornell and Navy are battling for his services. Griffin recently took the SAT for the first time, but has yet to receive his score.

“Right now most schools are recruiting me as a defensive back; I play safety but have the ability to play corner,” Griffin said. “Coach Justin Watts of Appalachian State and Coach Lunsford of Georgia Southern are doing a great job of keeping me informed on what’s going on in recruiting and which camps I need to attend.”

In early May, Griffin made an appearance at the Charlotte Nike Regional posting a solid 89.58 SPARQ Rating, he had one of the top shuttle times of the day at a 4.18. Just last week he competed at a Mercer one-day camp.

“Right now I plan on hitting Appalachian State, Boston College, Charleston Southern, Coastal Carolina, Georgia Southern and Ohio University for one-day camps,” Griffin said. “After that I will discuss with Coach Britt what other camps I may need to go to depending on a school’s interest in me.”

Griffin is also a standout on the Cadet’s track squad where he takes part in the 110-hurdles, 300-hurdles, 4x100 and 4x400. He finished fourth at the GHSA-AA State Championships in the 300-hurdles. Unfortunately an injury to teammate John Wesley Kennedy, III derailed their hopes of capturing glory in the relays. Griffin is also a member of the varsity basketball squad.

There is only one thing on the mind of Griffin and his teammates – back-to-back State Championships, something that has never been done in school history. With a target on their back what do the Cadet’s need to accomplish to repeat?

“I have to make sure to be one of the leaders on the team, in the weight room, during condition drills, and as a defensive back,” Griffin said. “This fall I will be playing some flanker/slot receiver, the same position that Kennedy played last year.”

Coach Britt will be relying on Griffin’s leadership and athletic skills to guide Benedictine to new heights. We already know about his defensive capabilities, but if he shines on the offensive side of the ball more offers will likely come his way. Griffin can be seen next in action August, 18 versus GHSA-AAAAAA power Brunswick (Ga.) Glynn Academy.