“That was pretty cool,” the McEachern quarterback said. “I’ve been busy all day. I signed at school, and then my family and I went over to Duluth for some interviews. On our way over here, I heard my name on the radio and I got pretty excited.”
Griffin’s excitement rivaled that of several other Cobb County football players who signed their letters of intent as part of Wednesday’s National Signing Day.
Griffin and teammate Jajuan Dulaney, an offensive tackle, both signed to play in the Atlantic Coast Conference, at Georgia Tech and Maryland, respectively.
“I’m glad it’s over,” Griffin said. “It’s a long process, but I know I picked the right school. Georgia Tech’s offense fits my skill set. It’s a great academic school, and it’s close to home. It will be a great atmosphere for me.”
Dulaney liked the offense Maryland runs, saying that it reminded him of McEachern’s. He won’t have long to get adjusted to playing in the ACC, however, with the Terrapins set to join the Big Ten Conference in time for the 2014 season.
“Being able to play teams close to home, like Georgia Tech and Clemson, was a plus, but I didn’t mind going away from home,” Dulaney said. “It was a great area being around D.C. and Baltimore, and Maryland has a really good broadcast journalism program.
“The move to the Big Ten is good for the program, from athletics to business. They’ll still be on TV, and the competition in the Big Ten is very good.”
The most exciting part of the day for the Walton offensive lineman Brandon Kublanow was just getting the paperwork in.
“Faxing that NLI to Georgia was the best part,” he said. “I know now that it’s official. I feel like I’ll be able to come in there, do what needs to be done, and push people out of the way. I want to help Georgia win a national championship.”
Marietta receiver Tyree Harris has already seen his popularity soar with his commitment to Wake Forest.
“Having people come up to me and take pictures and ask for my autograph was probably the most surprising thing,” he said. “I can’t wait to show off my talents in the ACC and get a good education.”
Tolando Cleveland, a defensive back from Hillgrove, originally committed to Georgia Tech but recently changed his mind and signed with Mississippi State. His would-be position coach at Tech, Charles Kelly, left for a job at Florida State last month, prompting Cleveland to rethink his decision.
“I took some time to think about it after he left,” Cleveland said. “I had a good relationship with (Kelly) and felt like I could achieve more with the relationships I developed at Mississippi State, since it came down to them and Georgia Tech.
“I’ve been most surprised by the support I’ve gotten with my decision. The reaction has been great and everybody’s just been behind me all the way, and they want what’s best for me.”
Mount Paran Christian’s Kyle Trammell, who is going to the U.S. Air Force Academy, was glad that to see the recruiting process end, because he didn’t like the attention.
“I tutor some kindergarteners and first-graders at school, and the (athletic director and football coach, Mitch Jordan) brought them to signing day and had them ask me questions about what I was doing,” Trammell said. “But I hate being the center of attention, so the whole situation wasn’t what I expected.”
Hillgrove’s Evan Engram found himself as part of one of the best recruiting classes in the nation. The tight end is joining a Mississippi program whose class ranked in the 40s last year, only to vault into the top 10 after signing Grayson’s Robert Nkemdiche, the nation’s top-ranked recruit.
“People don’t understand how special Oxford is,” he said. “It’s an attractive place, and the coaching staff is really making things happen.
“I was a guy that was under-the-radar last year, but the coaches saw what I could do and they believed in me and they wanted to bring me in. That’s a huge turnaround for me, and our recruiting class this year is the basis for a future SEC championship team.”