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Rocko Griffin’s Run to Vanderbilt

By BJ Bennett
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Simply put, Vanderbilt has recruited and signed the complete package.

"It was the academics, being in a city like that and in the's hard to find somewhere to give you a platform like that for those things."
~Rocko Griffin

There is a cadence and rhythm to the way Rocko Griffin runs. The South Effingham star, a highly-touted running back who signed with Vanderbilt on Wednesday, runs with great vision and is fluid and smooth on the field, distinctions his numbers clearly display; 15 rushing touchdowns, 24.1 yards per reception and 1,907 all purpose yards in 2019. For Griffin, that style is part of his substance. A published poet with literary work finished earlier this year, he heads to Nashville with goals on and off the field.

While others, including teams in the SEC, have long been scouting Griffin, he has been doing detailed evaluations of his own. 

A standout student-athlete for multiple seasons, Griffin finished his prep career as one of the most versatile and dynamic playmakers in the state of Georgia. Few boast his upside or potential. Griffin's profile, however, only starts with his first step. An accomplished student, a civic-minded young adult and, at 5'9'', 190 pounds, a truly elite athlete, Griffin sees the field -- and beyond.

Simply put, Vanderbilt has recruited and signed the complete package.

Griffin's well-rounded profile brings blue-chip credentials to the Commodores' gold standard. He will enter college football with a resume that include a 10.97-second 100-meter dash time, a 4.35 shuttle reading and a 35.1-inch vertical leap. A football and track star, Griffin's true value comes in the metrics that can't be measured. His perspective and persistence have helped Griffin gets to where he is. The accomplished running back will hit the ground running, a plan for what awaits already in mind.

For a prospect with a wide array of offers, the opportunity at Vanderbilt, specifically, stood out.

"It was the academics, being in a city like that and in the's hard to find somewhere to give you a platform like that for those things," Griffin explained.

Even before he transitions to the next level, Griffin has hopes for what is to come after that. Hence his decision. From the world-renowned academics of Vanderbilt to the expansions of a city like Nashville, the college experience will be a complete and comprehensive one for Griffin. In addition to playing for the Commodores and competing in the SEC, all that Vanderbilt and the surrounding region is and has is what attracted Griffin to the school.

Saturday will be a feature part of Griffin's college experience. The rest of the week will be as well.

"I really just want to network around there. It's a big city and well-known area," Griffin nodded. "Just hit the business school and see how that works out."   

Griffin, fresh off prolific individual production and overall group success, will bring notable momentum to Vanderbilt. His athletic prowess aside, Griffin is a team-first star, committed to the betterment of the brand. A reputation of a strong work ethic, clear determination and setting and reaching goals will follow Griffin north. The idea of working with others to help the Commodores win in college football's premier conference is one that resonates with Griffin. Already, that is one of the aspects of his next chapter that excites him most.

"I'm going to work hard on and off the field. I'll push my teammates to be better each and every day and give it my all everyday," Griffin shared. "That's what I bring to the table."  

Looking ahead, the chance to learn under head coach Derek Mason is another aspect of college football that Griffin is looking forward to. The head coach at Vanderbilt since 2012, he is one of the most respected names in the game. Mason is a leader who Griffin is ready to follow. Now a proud member of the Commodores, he is honored to be able to work towards both the Mason and Vanderbilt standard.

Like the program Griffin chose, the head coach he picked to play for also has a proven big picture outlook and approach. That concept, one based in success on the field and off of it, resonated with Griffin.

"He is a really great guy," Griffin continued of Mason. "A lot of people only know him from the football aspect of things, but off the field he really cares about you and your personal life. He is easy to talk to." 

Griffin, committing to Vanderbilt in early June and signing with the Commodores this week, has an outline he is following. Approaching situations, not to mention rushing lanes, with a mature, thoughtful point of view, Griffin is one who makes the most of his chances. College football and the college experience will be no different. The work Griffin has put in has started to pay off, results that go well beyond mere touchdowns and yards.

As the next chapter begins, this transition has come with both reflection and anticipation alike. Ahead of the next half-decade, Vanderbilt, for Griffin, has been years in the making.

"Since I've been little, I've always been waiting for it. " he shared of signing to play college football. "It's always been a goal to get to this point, but after you sign, you have to think about the future. How you're going to size up, how you're going to play. Just about your future and how you're going to work."

Pads to poems, Griffin, an avid chess-player, swimmer and boxer, is a unique talent. For a player and a person who breaks the mold, his commitment and signing fits the bill. Griffin isn't just going to a great program and school, but, across all fronts, the perfect place.

Some players join a team hoping to fit the culture; Griffin, with Vanderbilt, defines it.    

When Griffin has the football, he, strong, fast and athletic, drives forward and through. Like many of his runs, the story continues. Here the box score is only the beginning.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: / Twitter: @BJBennettSports