Kicking It Around with Jack Griffin
Jack Griffin, the new FIU freshman kicker, took sometime out in between Tuesday’s workout and his classes to kick it here on the GPP.
JG — who is the No. 3 kicker in Florida and No. 13 in the nation according to rivals.com — did not start kicking until his freshman season at Naples St. John Neumann, but went from JV to varsity in no time that season. JG was 6 of 8 in FGs in his junior season. He did not play his senior season, because of a back injury that has now healed. We’ve used JG’s mug shot on previous blogs so here on the right is JG tackling on a kickoff return.
GPP: So how exactly did you get your start kicking a football?
JG: I was messing around with my buddies when I was on JV my freshman season and I started kicking some long kickoffs in front of the varsity coach. He saw that I was hitting them in the end zone and he had me tryout. I had played soccer since I was a little kid and I was kicking it farther than the other kids so I ended up in varsity that season.
GPP: So did you start hitting every field goal once you got the job on varsity or did it take a while?
JG: I kind of got the kicking pretty much off the bat, but it was a little difficult. So I got help from Brandon Kornblue, who used to kick at the University of Michigan and also kicked in the Arena League. He helped me a lot. My career long is 48 yards. I usually practice from 45 to 50 yards out. (JG won the Kornblue Kicking Challenge in 2007 making 14 of 16 field goals).
GPP: What did you think of your visit with the FIU coaching staff when they were recruiting you?
JG: The thing that stood out about the coaches was their mentality. They are all about getting after it. No one is slacking at FIU. You have to be on time for everything: class, weight training, meetings, everything. I like that a lot. That was really big for me when they were recruiting me.
GPP: You were at a few FIU home games this past season. What impression did your new teammates give you?
JG: I went to 3 or 4 games and what you saw with these guys is that they are a hardworking, up and coming team. I realized there is a lot of talent on this team and with each game that I saw everyone seemed to be getting better.
GPP: There is a chance you could be FIU’s kicker and punter next season if Carlos Munera does not get an extra season from the NCAA for medical reasons and Chris Cook does not come back. How do you feel about that?
JG: I’m ready for whatever the team needs. Kicking has come natural for me and kicking on the FIU Stadium field turf will be amazing after having kicked on grass all my life. But I still have to work on my punting as far as the drop goes. Everything is timing with punting. I’ve hit a 65-yarder as my long punt.
Publisher: Miami Herald
Wrote by: Pete Pelegrin
June 1, 2009