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UCF’s Shaquem Griffin has no regrets sitting in draft “green room” three days

Florida Football Insiders

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Brett Davis- USA Today Sports

It’s arguably the best off the field draft story of 2018. And, it played out in our state Saturday, as UCF’s Shaquem Griffin was drafted in the fifth round by the Seattle Seahawks and re-united with his twin brother Shaquill.

Griffin was invited to last weekend’s proceedings in Arlington, TX, by the NFL, as one of the 22 players they wanted to be part of the experience on site and eventually, come out on stage, when their name was called. The UCF linebacker/safety was there for the opening night, when he knew he had no realistic shot of being drafted round one. However, there was some belief after his impressive draft build up workouts and interviews that he might go in night two (second-third rounds).

Alas, that did not happen either.

Finally, Saturday afternoon, the former St. Pete Lakewood High School and UCF star, was taken with the 151st overall pick and re-united with his brother, Shaquill, who was drafted by the Seahawks a year earlier.

It’s a tremendous story, and as we wrote Saturday, it’s not some publicity gimmick or charity by Seattle. They have needs on defense and they believe Shaquem’s talents will help him, and may very well also help his brother become a better player in their secondary, too.

Shaquem Griffin appeared on Rich Eisen’s national radio/tv simulcast show Tuesday afternoon and gave more example of his personality, was humorous at times and candid about the whole process:

Particularly interesting was Eisen’s question about sitting in the draft “green room” for three days  “I can definitely say the wait was worth it. It was a rough three days, but I’d definitely wait all over again for opportunity to get out there with my brother.” He continued on whether he regretted sitting there Thursday and Friday, “That’s an experience that a lot of people can’t say they did (sic)… Being a kid watching on TV how it’s done, it definitely different when you are the one sitting inside the green room.”

Clearly, with his disability of an amputated left hand, Griffin became a heart warming inspirational story over the last three months. However, also clearly, he’s demonstrated skill on the football field during a magical UCF 2017 season. And, his speed and physical display at the NFL Scouting Combine also told NFL scouts and personnel guys that he deserves a shot at the NFL level.

The Seahawks have given him that shot.

UCF Knights

USF and UCF got American Conference 2020 schedules Tuesday

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Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

On Tuesday afternoon the American Athletic Conference made official is 2020 football dates for opponents for its conference members. And, that means UCF and USF got to look for the first time at their full conference slates and when they are playing whom.

First for the Knights, they learned that they will open year three of coach Josh Heupel’s conference play on Thursday night September 24th at East Carolina. It is one of three stand-alone weeknight(day) games UCF has on their schedule.

The next one will be Friday night October 16th, as UCF travels to play the Memphis Tigers. That’s a team that the Knights defeated for two Conference Championship Game victories in 2017 and 18.

UCF will also play a traditional “War on I-4” game with the rival Bulls on the Friday after Thanksgiving November 27th. This will be the fourth straight year of playing on “Black Friday.”

As for the Knights other part of the league schedule, they will have their AAC home opener with Tulsa on Saturday October 3rd and then, finish the slate with two huge home matchups with Temple Saturday November 14th followed by Cincinnati at Spectrum Stadium the following week.

For the Bulls, who welcome first year coach Jeff Scott in 2020, they will only have two standalone appearances in conference play. Those will be a Friday night home game October 23rd with Tulsa and then, the previously mentioned final rivalry game with UCF on Friday November 27th.

The Bulls first conference game of the season will be at Cincinnati on October 3rd, while the home opener is East Carolina the following week at Raymond James Stadium.

USF has a tough road slate beginning at Temple on October 17th and then, after the Friday night home game with Tulsa, playing at Memphis November 7th and at Houston November 14th.

The conference is playing 2020 with only 11 members, as UConn has departed and gone back to the Big East. This will also be the first time that the AAC doesn’t play a two six team division format and will instead take the top two ranked teams in conference play for it’s December Championship Game.

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UCF Knights

Speedy former UCF RB Killins looks to impress at Shrine Bowl

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One-player eager to start showcasing himself Saturday afternoon in the pre-draft process  in St Petersburg is former UCF speedster RB, Adrian Killins.

Killins ,who just finished four years of highlight runs and touchdowns for the the Knights will participate in the East-West Shrine Bowl.

Killins is generously listed at 5’9 and 165 lb. and came UCF without much fanfare from Daytona Mainland High School. However, he had been an explosive player on the football gridiron, and he was also a former two time 3A State 200m track champion before coming to Orlando.

Once at UCF in 2016, Killins immediately showed off his explosiveness and moniker of “fastest player in college football” with a 100-yard kickoff return at ECU and an 87 yard touchdown run at “the Big House” in Ann Arbor against Michigan.

His best season was his sophomore year, when he was named First Team All American Athletic Conference RB, as he rushed for 790 yards and 10 touchdowns to lead UCF. He showed versatility and caught another additional 25 passes for 169 yards.

He also set a UCF record for longest play from scrimmage that still stands, in the UCF regular season win over Memphis, as he took a handoff and the looked like a missle racing down the sideline:

Killins helped the Knights experience their greatest season ever at 13 – 0 with not only a thrilling double-overtime conference title game rematch win over the Tigers, but a New Year’s Day upset of SEC Powerhouse Auburn in the Peach Bowl for the perfect season.

His next two years under Josh Heupel and his new coaching staff were not as spectacular. But, he still he would make the occasional explosive run and finished his career with over 1,700 yards rushing and 25 touchdowns.

He did leave a final impression with his 115 yards and 1 TD in the regular season finale with USF.

Now, he knows that with his smaller size, even with blazing speed, he will be challenged to stick on an NFL roster, and another way might be as a kick returner. Killins left UCF with a career 21.8 avg on 47 returns as a Knight.

He will likely need to show that part of his game to help him get a realistic shot at the next level. And, we wait to see if there will be explosive plays from him Saturday.

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