Shaquem Griffin

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Shaquem Griffin
refer to caption
Griffin with the UCF Knights in 2017
No. 49, 53
Personal information
Born: (1995-07-20) July 20, 1995 (age 27)
St. Petersburg, Florida
Height:6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight:227 lb (103 kg)
Career information
High school:Lakewood
(St. Petersburg, Florida)
College:UCF (2013–2017)
NFL Draft:2018 / Round: 5 / Pick: 141
Career history
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of 2021
Total tackles:25
Forced fumbles:0
Fumble recoveries:0
Player stats at · PFR

Shaquem Alphonso Griffin[2] /ʃəˈkm/ (born July 20, 1995) is a former American football linebacker. He is the twin brother of Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Shaquill Griffin, and both brothers played college football at UCF. When Griffin was 4 years old, he had his left hand amputated; Griffin later received extensive media coverage as a prospective 2018 NFL Draft pick.[3][4][5][6] He was selected as a fifth round pick (141st overall) by the Seahawks on April 28, 2018, reuniting him with Shaquill.[7]

Early life[edit]

Shaquem Griffin was born to Terry and Tangie Griffin[8] on July 20, 1995, in St. Petersburg Florida, less than two minutes after Shaquill.[9][10] Shaquem was born with amniotic band syndrome affecting his left hand, causing his fingers on his left hand not to fully develop.[8][11][12] The pain was so intense that at 4 years of age he grabbed a butcher knife, planning to cut the hand off. His mother took the knife away, and his parents scheduled an amputation the next day.[8][10] Still, Griffin was able to continue playing sports without his left hand, competing in track, baseball, and football alongside his brother.[8]

High school career[edit]

Born in St. Petersburg, Florida, Griffin attended and played high school football at Lakewood, where he played safety. He attended the 2011 Under Armour Combine.

As a senior, he helped Lakewood reach the 2012 Florida 5A regional semifinals. He earned Second Team 5A All-State and Tampa Bay Times Second Team All-Suncoast honors. He played in the 2012 Florida Athletic Coaches Association North-South All-Star Game. USA Football selected him to the 2013 U.S. Under-19 National Team, playing for whom earned him national attention after an interception by Griffin landed on ESPN's Top 10 Plays. He was rated a three-star recruit prospect by both Rivals and ESPN.

He was also a four-year letter earner in track and field, including the 4x100 relay, triple jump, shot put, and discus. After winning the triple jump state title, and breaking two Lakewood records, he was named the Tampa Bay Times Track and Field Athlete of the Year in Pinellas County (Florida). He received collegiate track and field interest from programs including LSU, Miami, and Purdue.[13]

College career[edit]

US college sports recruiting information for high school athletes
Name Hometown High school / college Height Weight 40 Commit date
Shaquem Griffin
St. Petersburg, Florida Lakewood HS 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) 183 lb (83 kg) 4.63 Jul 27, 2012 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:3/5 stars   Rivals:3/5 stars   247Sports:2/5 stars    ESPN grade: 70
Overall recruiting rankings:
  • ‡ Refers to 40 yard dash
  • Note: In many cases, Scout, Rivals, 247Sports, and ESPN may conflict in their listings of height, weight and 40 time.
  • In these cases, the average was taken. ESPN grades are on a 100-point scale.


  • "2012 Team Ranking".

Shaquem and his brother Shaquill were both offered football scholarships at the University of Central Florida (UCF) by then-coach George O'Leary, with Shaquill rejecting offers from other teams including the Miami Hurricanes, his dream team, to play with Shaquem.[14] Griffin spent his whole college career at UCF, totaling 17 sacks and 30 tackles for a loss. Notable plays also include an interception versus the Temple Owls[15] and a fumble recovery for a touchdown versus the Austin Peay Governors,[16] both during the 2017 season.

In his second season, playing as a redshirt freshman, Shaquem Griffin had a brief stint as a second string player on the depth chart before being demoted to third string and then scout team. Griffin attributes his rise in his redshirt junior and redshirt senior seasons to Scott Frost's hiring as head coach for the 2016 and 2017 seasons. Writing for The Players' Tribune, Griffin said that, following his winless third season under O'Leary, "Coach Frost came in and brought me back into the light... He gave me the opportunity I had been waiting for ever since I first arrived at UCF. And I took advantage of it".[17]

Griffin was named the 2018 Peach Bowl Defensive MVP and was the 2016 American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year. In Griffin's senior season, UCF went undefeated and subsequently claimed a national championship.[a] Griffin told Ralph Warner and NFL Network in November 2017 that he planned to continue his football career in the NFL.

Shaquem stayed at UCF one season longer than Shaquill, as Shaquem redshirted his freshman year while Shaquill saw playing time.[21][22][23] Shaquill graduated and was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in the third round (90th overall pick) of the 2017 NFL Draft,[24] while Shaquem stayed on for his redshirt senior year at UCF.

After the end of his college career, Griffin was named as one of two recipients of the 2019 NCAA Inspiration Award, presented to individuals currently or formerly associated with NCAA athletics for especially inspirational efforts in dealing with life-altering personal situations. He received the award alongside Maggie Nichols, the first individual to report having been sexually assaulted by Larry Nassar.[25][26]

Professional career[edit]

External video
video icon Shaquem Griffin runs fastest 40-yard dash by a linebacker
video icon UCF LB Shaquem Griffin puts up 20 reps on the bench press
video icon "I Am Shaquem Griffin" NFL video

Despite not initially receiving an invitation,[27][28] Griffin participated in the NFL Scouting Combine in March 2018. He made headlines for performing 20 reps in the bench press while wearing a prosthesis[29] and for running the 40-yard dash in 4.38 seconds, the fastest time for a linebacker since the NFL has released official statistics.[30]

Pre-draft measurables
Height Weight Arm length Hand span 40-yard dash 10-yard split 20-yard split Three-cone drill Vertical jump Broad jump Bench press
6 ft 0+38 in
(1.84 m)
227 lb
(103 kg)
32+18 in
(0.82 m)
9 in
(0.23 m)
4.38 s 1.54 s 2.58 s 6.95 s 35+12 in
(0.90 m)
9 ft 9 in
(2.97 m)
20 reps
All values from NFL Combine and Pro Day[31][32]
Shaquem (right) and Shaquill Griffin (left) celebrating with D. J. Reed during a 2020 game at FedExField

Despite the fact that he was not projected as a first round pick, Griffin received an invitation to the 2018 NFL Draft, which he accepted on March 29, 2018.[33][34] Griffin received extensive press and social media coverage leading up to and during the draft, as he would have been the first one-handed player drafted into the NFL if chosen.[3][4][5][6]

Seattle Seahawks[edit]

On April 28, 2018, he was selected by the Seattle Seahawks in the fifth round (141st overall), reuniting him with his brother Shaquill.[7][35] On May 17, 2018, Griffin signed a four-year deal worth $2.8 million with $300,000 guaranteed.[36]

On August 9, 2018, Griffin made his preseason debut against the Indianapolis Colts in CenturyLink Field, leading his team in tackles with six solo tackles and three assisted tackles. On August 30, 2018, he again led the team in tackles with four solo and three assisted tackles in the final week of the preseason against the Oakland Raiders. Griffin led the Seahawks in total tackles for the entire 2018 NFL preseason with fifteen, tied with fellow linebacker Austin Calitro. On September 9, 2018, Griffin was named as a starter in the first game of his NFL career due to veteran linebacker K. J. Wright being unable to play. He made three solo tackles in the 27–24 loss to the Denver Broncos at Mile High Stadium.

In the Divisional Round of the playoffs in the 2019 season, Griffin recorded one sack on Aaron Rodgers during the 28–23 loss.[37]

Griffin was waived by the Seahawks during final roster cuts on September 5, 2020,[38] and signed to the team's practice squad the next day.[39] He was elevated to the active roster on September 26 for the team's week 3 game against the Dallas Cowboys, and reverted to the practice squad after the game.[40][41] He was promoted to the active roster on October 2, 2020.[42]

In Week 14 against the New York Jets, Griffin recorded a sack on Sam Darnold during the 40–3 win.[43]

Miami Dolphins[edit]

On July 23, 2021, Griffin agreed to a one-year contract with the Miami Dolphins.[44] He was waived on August 31, 2021, and re-signed to the practice squad.[45] He was released on October 19.


On August 24, 2022, Griffin announced his retirement from football after four seasons.[46]

Personal life[edit]

In high school, Griffin earned the United States Achievement Academy Student of Excellence Award, the Mr. LHS Award (for Lakewood High School), and the 2012 Mike June Courage Award. The St. Petersburg mayor presented him a "key to the city" in high school. He and his twin brother, Shaquill, founded a track club in their hometown of St. Petersburg.[13]



  1. ^ The NCAA recognizes the Alabama Crimson Tide and Griffin's UCF Knights as 2017 national champions, with Alabama listed first. UCF was ranked #1 in the Colley Matrix, while other selectors chose Alabama.[18][19][20]


  1. ^ "American Announces Fifth Anniversary Football Team". American Athletic Conference. Retrieved July 24, 2018.
  2. ^ Graddy, Tyler (July 19, 2017). "Shaquem Griffin One-on-One: Life After Football, Book Plans and Living Away from His Brother |".
  3. ^ a b Stump, Scott (March 5, 2018). "College football player with one hand looks to make history at NFL draft". Today.
  4. ^ a b McMahan, Ian (April 26, 2018). "Shaquem Griffin: can a one-handed college star make it in the NFL?". The Guardian.
  5. ^ a b Kirshner, Alex (April 28, 2018). "Shaquem Griffin is already the NFL Draft's best story, no matter where he goes". SB Nation.
  6. ^ a b Goodhead, Chase (February 21, 2018). "One-handed LB Shaquem Griffin on verge of making NFL history".
  7. ^ a b "One-handed LB Shaquem Griffin drafted by Seahawks, reunited with twin brother Shaquill". April 28, 2018.
  8. ^ a b c d Glock, Allison. "NCF: Identical twins have NFL dreams, with only three hands".
  9. ^ Drahold, Bryon (May 2, 2017). "Seahawks cornerback Shaquill Griffin kept promise to twin brother". Seahawks Wire.
  10. ^ a b Staples, Andy (November 16, 2017). "Shaquem Griffin: UCF's unstoppable one-handed star". Sports Illustrated.
  11. ^ Green, Shannon (September 8, 2016). "Shaquem, Shaquill Griffin shine for UCF, don't let disability hold them back". Orlando Sentinel.
  12. ^ Adelson, Eric (August 17, 2017). "Is the NFL next for one-handed Shaquem Griffin?". Yahoo Sports.
  13. ^ a b "Shaquem Griffin - 2017 - Football". UCF Athletics. Retrieved January 5, 2022.
  14. ^ Orr, Conor. "Shaquill Griffin stuck by his twin; now NFL teams are catching up". Retrieved April 28, 2018.
  15. ^ "UCF's Griffin continues impressive season with interception".
  16. ^ Green, Shannon (October 29, 2017). "UCF linebacker Shaquem Griffin savors first career touchdown, contributes to record-setting win". Orlando Sentinel.
  17. ^ Griffin, Shaquem (March 2, 2018). "A Letter to NFL GMs". The Players' Tribune.
  18. ^ "2017 Rankings, Week 17". Colley Matrix. Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  19. ^ "Football Bowl Subdivision Records" (PDF). NCAA. p. 109. Retrieved January 10, 2018.
  20. ^ Seeley, Andy (January 10, 2018). "Knights Ranked No. 1 - UCF" (Press release). UCF Athletics.
  21. ^ Knight, Joey (August 3, 2017). "Griffin twins go their separate ways on the gridiron for first time". Tampa Bay Times.
  22. ^ "2013 Football Roster: Shaquem Griffin Bio".
  23. ^ "2013 Football Roster: Shaquill Griffin Bio".
  24. ^ Yohannes, Aron (April 28, 2017). "Seattle Seahawks Select Central Florida Cornerback Shaquill Griffin With No. 90 Overall Pick In 2017 NFL Draft". Archived from the original on May 3, 2017. Retrieved April 28, 2018.
  25. ^ "2019 NCAA Inspiration Award: Shaquem Griffin" (Press release). NCAA. December 13, 2018. Retrieved December 13, 2018.
  26. ^ "2019 NCAA Inspiration Award: Maggie Nichols" (Press release). NCAA. December 13, 2018. Retrieved December 13, 2018.
  27. ^ Forde, Pat (January 24, 2018). "Why hasn't the NFL invited Shaquem Griffin to the scouting combine?". Yahoo Sports.
  28. ^ Henderson, Brandy (January 30, 2018). "Shaquem Griffin invited to combine after initial snub". Yahoo Sports.
  29. ^ Wilson, Ryan (March 4, 2018). "2018 NFL Combine: One-handed Shaquem Griffin did 20 bench press reps; goal was 6". CBS Sports.
  30. ^ Moriarty, Morgan (March 5, 2018). "Shaquem Griffin just ran the fastest 40-yard dash by a linebacker ever, and everyone lost their minds". SB Nation.
  31. ^ "NFL Draft & Combine Profile - SHAQUEM GRIFFIN |". NFL. Archived from the original on August 30, 2018. Retrieved March 5, 2018.
  32. ^ "Shaquem Griffin - Central Florida, OLB: 2018 NFL Draft Scout Player Profile".
  33. ^ "NFL Draft & Combine Profile - SHAQUEM GRIFFIN". Retrieved March 22, 2018.
  34. ^ Bergman, Jeremy. "Shaquem Griffin plans to attend 2018 NFL Draft in Dallas". NFL. Retrieved March 29, 2018.
  35. ^ Teope, Herbie (April 28, 2018). "Shaquem Griffin drafted No. 141 overall by Seahawks". Retrieved May 6, 2018.
  36. ^ Bergman, Jeremy (May 17, 2018). "Seahawks sign fifth-round linebacker Shaquem Griffin". NFL. Retrieved May 17, 2018.
  37. ^ "Packers hold off Seahawks 28-23 to reach NFC title game". Associated Press. January 12, 2020. Retrieved January 12, 2020.
  38. ^ Shook, Nick (September 5, 2020). "Pass rusher Shaquem Griffin released by Seahawks". NFL. Retrieved September 5, 2020.
  39. ^ Boyle, John (September 6, 2020). "Seahawks Sign 14 Players to Practice Squad, Including LB Shaquem Griffin". Retrieved September 16, 2020.
  40. ^ "Seahawks activate LB Shaquem Griffin". September 26, 2020.
  41. ^ Boyle, John (September 26, 2020). "Seahawks Activate LB Shaquem Griffin & CB Ryan Neal From Practice Squad". Seattle Seahawks.
  42. ^ Boyle, John (October 2, 2020). "Seahawks Linebacker Shaquem Griffin Promoted From Practice Squad". Retrieved October 8, 2020.
  43. ^ "New York Jets at Seattle Seahawks - December 13th, 2020". Retrieved December 8, 2020.
  44. ^ "Roster Moves: Miami Dolphins Sign LB Shaquem Griffin and CB Cre'Von LeBlanc". July 23, 2021.
  45. ^ "Roster Moves: Dolphins Announce Roster Moves - August 31". August 31, 2021.
  46. ^ Griffin, Shaquem (August 24, 2022). "Plan A". The Players' Tribune. Retrieved August 24, 2022.

External links[edit]

Media related to Shaquem Griffin at Wikimedia Commons