“He knows football better than any kid I’ve ever been around.”
Coming from the mouth of someone such as Core Speed Elite trainer Chux Nwabuko II, who’s helped develop numerous elite prospects over the years, such praise for Hutto quarterback Chase Griffin isn’t taken with a grain of salt.
When discussing the game with Griffin, though, it doesn’t take much time to realize why Nwabuko’s praise isn’t far-fetched.
Standing at just 5’10, Griffin doesn’t boast prototypical height for a quarterback and he’s well aware of that. As Griffin told Burnt Orange Nation, he may not be the most athletically gifted talent of the field each time out, but he strives to be the most prepared and mentally polished.
"I try to be the smartest person on the field each week," Griffin said, adding that he makes a checklist for every game based on what the defense has displayed on film.
"I try to adhere to that, that way if I know I need to get a completion, I'll be able to steal one,” Griffin said. “So having that on the field and having an operating system where I can use my accuracy and my pocket ability and all that really comes into fruition as far as efficiency goes, which I got a lot better at."
The efficiency Griffin strived to improve throughout his junior campaign came in the form of a 67 percent completion rate, and more notably, a 10-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio, as the 2019 field general totaled 40 passing scores and just four picks.
Remember little Chase Griffin ("your favorite QB's favorite QB") who SI & ESPN wrote about when he was 13? The precocious little ball boy has grown up to be a record-setting HS quarterback in Texas football & put up a 40-4 TD-INT ratio this year: https://t.co/PJV3M7eK5G— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) December 8, 2017
When his 40 passing touchdowns are paired with his video game-esque efforts of 4,145 yards, it’s mind-boggling when the reality that Griffin isn’t exactly a coveted recruit sets in.
The film and stat sheet tell a tale of an elite prospect, but the lone offer from Yale says otherwise.
"I think some of it has to do with my height,” Griffin said of why his praiseworthy on-field performance has netted just one offer to date. “I actually think all of it does. I'm not 6'5, not 6'3. I'm only 5'10 or 5'11, but I can see over the line fine and I throw through rings so that really hasn't affected my game."
Height, or the lack thereof considered, Griffin provides a skill set that’s certainly capable of surviving at the next level. The poise in the pocket, the ability to make nearly every throw on the field and do so at an efficient clip, the wherewithal to work through his progressions without panicking under pressure at a level seldom seen at this point in a quarterback’s career; it’s all there.
Furthermore, so is the mental maturity well beyond his years.
As if it isn’t clear by now, Griffin isn’t your run-of-the-mill recruit.
If he were 6’2 or 6’3, Griffin’s offer list would quite likely consist of prominent programs such as Alabama, LSU, Penn State, Florida State, USC, Texas, Oklahoma, and Texas A&M. Such options would typically make up a dream list of offers for most prospects, but again, Griffin isn’t most prospects, despite putting up numbers better than nearly any quarterback in the nation.
When asked of the offers he’d ideally like to see roll in, Griffin didn’t list the local Longhorns, nor did he list USC or UCLA, where he’s originally from in Los Angeles, or any other perennial power for that matter.
"Right now, I just still consider the Yale offer a blessing and it doesn't go lightly that it's my first."
So where exactly does this mindset come from; craving to purely outsmart opponents and aspiring to attend a prominent academic institution, as opposed to one praised for its athletics?
"I feel like that just comes from something like being great in all things intellectually and physically,” said Griffin. “I try to compete in everything I do and gain every single advantage. If I was 6'5 running a 4.3 then naturally, that would be the advantage I take, but I wasn't born with that so I have to work to get closer to that. I just try to find my advantages and maximize those and find my weaknesses and bring those up to advantages.”
At this point in his career, Griffin’s game doesn’t exactly present many holes, aside from his height when it comes to his recruitment.
“He has everything a coach would want except height,” Nwabuko said of Griffin. “Grades, leadership. No one outworks him. His numbers on back-to-back seasons are undeniable. He’s better than the big name guys in his class.”
As seen by his stat line, which includes upwards of 7,000 yards throughout the past two seasons, he’s an elite weapon as a pure passer, and despite less than overwhelming numbers on the ground, Griffin can still make things happen with his legs.
Griffin’s goal for his final season among the high school ranks, though, is to force defenses to not question if he’ll hurt them with his legs, but when.
"Last year I was able to hit maybe 20 and 30-yard runs. Next year, I want to be able to hit a home run every single time I run," Griffin said, adding that he also wants to become more physically and mentally dominant.
Considering that mind frame, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Nwabuko said of Griffin, “If he gets into a QB room with coaches it will be his team.”
Bearing that in mind, though, the fact remains that thus far, only Yale has offered Griffin the opportunity to take control of its quarterback room.
With more than a year between now and when he’ll ultimately need to elect where he’ll take his talents to at the next level, how does Griffin aim to assure he does have more than one option to choose from when that time comes?
In short, grind relentlessly in the meantime.
"This is my senior year so just realizing that I now have to attack each workout with a different kind of vengeance," Griffin said. "I feel like if I just keep on grinding, keep my head down and working, the things I want to achieve, I'll have the opportunity through college and a coach who believes in me to achieve," he added.
In speaking with Griffin, though, despite the undeniably bright personal future that awaits, the Hutto field general made it clear that personal accolades don’t come without team success, and to that end, he had one message:
"Big ups to Hippo nation and we're going to be back next year."