Shaquem Griffin was under the radar just a few months ago, but after emerging as one of the most inspirational players out of the NFL Combine, his story will culminate in Dallas next month.
The linebacker from UCF whose left hand was amputated when he was 4 barely got invited to the combine in Indianapolis, but he revealed Thursday that he has been invited to the NFL Draft and will be attending.
"I was a guy who was under the radar who they didn't believe in at first, but I feel like they're starting to believe now," Griffin said after UCF's pro day Thursday (via The Orlando Sentinel). "I have the entire nation behind me now."
Griffin emerged as a national sensation at the combine where he used a prosthetic hand to put up 20 reps in the bench press. He then clocked 4.38-second 40-yard dash, the fastest of any linebacker in the history of the combine.
Despite earning numerous honors for his junior season at UCF, including American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year, Griffin wasn't originally invited by the NFL to participate in the combine.
“I was disappointed I wasn’t invited [to the Combine] at first, but it wasn’t just me; it was the entire nation,” Griffin said Thursday. “At first, I put out a tweet when I wasn’t invited and the entire nation got behind me. They weren’t happy about it, either. … I want to thank everybody who got behind me, and I’m still giving them thanks because the job is not done yet.”
Griffin is projected to go as a third- or fourth-round pick, but regardless of his draft position, Griffin said he will be emotional as he continues to pursue a lifelong dream of playing in the NFL.