Posted on September 20, 2011 at 11:43 AM
Tuesday, Sep 20 at 11:51 AM
WACO, TX - Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III has been getting more and more national attention these days.
"He's one heck of an athlete and he's one great student," says Cameron Lance, a student at Baylor. "I mean everybody should aspire to be more like him because he works hard."
"I'm connected to Baylor and Baylor is connected to me," Griffin says. "So if I’m getting the attention, then it's coming back to the University and to all the guys on the team that have been working hard to get it.
Baylor football is on the rise and they can thank quarterback Robert Griffin III. The bears are off to a 2-0 start after wins over TCU and Stephen F. Austin. It's the kind of start that his fellow students were expecting.
They think he's the real deal."I think he is," says A'mie Preston, a Baylor student. "He has good leadership qualities. You can see it on the field and he does really good in his classes."
He's kind of like our unofficial mascot if you will," says Sam Shalala, a Baylor student. "It's like the 'Baylor Robert Griffin's'"
That's high praise but not unexpected for a player who is already being promoted by the school as a candidate for the Heisman trophy.
"The way I look at it, the Heisman is a team award so for the past 20 years or so, this team hasn't been doing all that great," says Griffin. "These guys put in the hard work and we're looking to build a great team here. If we win that award, then that's great because you don't see very many guys go out and win a Heisman with a team that's 4-8."
The last time Baylor had a legitimate Heisman trophy candidate was nearly 50 years ago. The year was 1963 and his name was Don Truell. He finished fourth in the balloting. It's still very early in the season but the name Robert Griffin III is starting to catch on.
"Any way you measure him, he's just first class whether it's on the field athletically or off the field academically,” says Baylor Broadcaster John Morris. He's already gotten his Baylor degree, he's working on his Masters, and he’s engaged to be married, so anything you want to measure him by, he's just first class."
He's the best quarterback in the nation," says Griffin's teammate and Baylor running back Terrance Ganaway. "I'm glad he plays for us and I’m glad I'm right next to him in the backfield."
"Robert Griffin is a super star for Baylor," says Baylor tight end Jordan Najvar. "Every great team has those talented guys and Robert Griffin is our guy. It's just his leadership and his determination. He has that "IT" factor as a quarterback. Everyone just feeds off him because he's always positive and he's always coming out to get better. He just pushes you every day."
Griffin played high school football 70 miles southwest of Waco in Copperas Cove. In his senior season, he lost in the state title game against La Marque Consolidated.
In two games so far this season, Griffin has passed for 624 yards and eight touchdowns. He has been so consistent that the number of touchdown passes matches his incompletions. In his second game against Stephen F Austin, Griffin had just two incompletions in a game shortened by lightning.
The big question in Waco these days is whether Griffin will be back for his senior season next year. "You now in his situation, I hope it's a deal in January where we have to make a decision that he stays,” says Baylor head coach Art Briles.”That's what I hope because that means he's had a heck of a year, we've had a heck of a year and he's going to have to make a choice that's best for him. So, that's what I’m for and that's the way it all works out."
"I've got to take care of college first but as far as pro style, NFL quarterbacks and all that, if you can play football, you can play football," Griffin says. "Cam Newton showed that. If you can play football as quarterback, a running back or as a receiver, guess what, you can do the same thing in the NFL and it's up to the coach to put you in the right situation so you can be successful."
And right now, head coach Briles is putting Griffin in situations where he can succeed.