INDIANAPOLIS – In a year of outstanding collegiate quarterbacks, listing the accomplishments of Baylor's Robert Griffin III reads like a roll call of greatness, which it is.
Griffin, 6-2 and three-eights, 223, capped off an illustrious three-year career at Baylor by leading his school to a 10-3 record and its first bowl victory in 19 seasons. His final game, he directed the Bears to a 67-56 victory in the Valero Alamo Bowl to earn the nation's 12-ranked position.
With victories come accolades and while Griffin accomplished a great deal in his previous two seasons, his 2011 honors truly are remarkable. Griffin won the Heisman Trophy and the Davey O'Brien and Manning Awards to become the only Baylor athlete to do so. He was a consensus All-America choice who was first-team All-Big 12 and the Big 12 Offensive Player-of-the-Year. Griffin was a finalist for the Walter Camp Award, the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and the Wuerffel Trophy and was a semifinalist for the Maxwell Award.
In 2011, he hit 291-of-402 passes for 4,293 yards, with 37 touchdowns and six interceptions, while rushing 179 times for 699 yards and 10 scores. He ranked second nationally in passing efficiency (192.31) and total offense (384.0), third in completion percentage (72.39), fourth in touchdown passes and sixth in yards. He set or tied 16 seasonal school records. Griffin also tied or broke six single-game marks (total offense yards – 551 vs. Oklahoma; passing yards – 479 vs. Oklahoma; completion percentage (min. 30 att.) – 87.9 vs. Rice (29-33); completion percentage (min. 20 att.) – 90.5 vs. Stephen F. Austin (19-21); TD responsibility – six (tied) vs. Rice; total plays – 66 at Oklahoma State). Griffin had a hand in 47 of 80 Baylor touchdowns. Fourteen of his 21 40 -yard completions went for touchdowns, while 10-of-14 50 -yard connections went for touchdowns. All nine of his completions exceeding 60 yards produced touchdowns.
For his career, Griffin set or tied 54 school records in starting 40 of 41 games in three seasons.
He hit 800-of-1,192 passes for 10,366 yards, with 78 touchdowns and 17 interceptions, while rushing 528 times for 2,254 yards and 33 scores. He is one of three FBS players with 10,000 passing yards and 2,000 rushing yards, joining Dan LeFevour and Colin Kaepernick. Griffin had five of the nine 400 passing games in school history, and he set 26 seasonal, 20 career and eight single-game records. He is the school record holder in passing yards, total offense, passing efficiency, touchdown passes, completion percentage (67.1), TD-to-interception ratio (4.59), interception percentage (.0143), TD responsibility (111), quarterback rushing yards and rushing TDs, attempts, completions, total offense per play (7.34), total offensive plays (1,720), consecutive games with a TD pass (15), consecutive attempts without an interception (209), 200 games (29), 300 games (13), 400 games (5) and quarterback 100 rushing games (7).
Griffin was one of the 300-plus players at the Combine. He spoke of what he would do this weekend.
"When I get on the field, it will be running," said Griffin. "I'm not going to throw this weekend. When I get out there, just move around, have fun, compete and in the interviews, just looking forward to showing them who I am and letting them get to know me and I get to know them, explain our offense to them a little bit.
"It was my decision (not to throw). You don't go somewhere and run a game plan that you never practiced, throw to guys you don't practice with in an environment that you're not prepared for."
Players like Griffin often have to overcome perceptions on their style of collegiate play. He is comfortable with his well-round ability.
"I think it's a misconception that comes with being a dual-threat quarterback, (that) you run first and throw second," said Griffin. "I think I've proven that I throw first and then run if I need to.
It wouldn't (be a leap to the NFL style). We had usually three options in our offense (at Baylor), with a check-down. Obviously, the fourth or fifth option would be for me to make something happen. It would not be a huge leap."
He spoke of past NFL players who influenced his style of play.
"Randall Cunningham. Steve Young. Guys that people think I've never seen play like Kenny Stabler. Guys who extend that play," said Griffin. "John Elway is another guy who can extend the play. They win from within the pocket, but they also know how to win outside the pocket. I think that's what the game has kind of turned into. Guys like Drew Brees, who run a little bit, and Aaron Rodgers, who can move around a little bit."
A freshman All-America grid pick at age 18, Griffin's accomplishments extended far past the playing field. He was a world-class hurdler who held a broad jump mark of 10-feet, 1.5-inches and was an All-America performer prior to his freshman football year. Griffin was a two-time Academic All-Big 12 first-team choice (2010-11), an eight-time member of the Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll and three times made the Dean's List. Griffin earned a degree in political science three years after enrolling at Baylor.
If selected by the Colts, Griffin would have no problems if Manning were on the 53-man roster.
"I would embrace it. It's not very often you get chances to be on a team with a legend like that and learn from a guy like Peyton," said Griffin. "Definitely I would come to compete to be that starter, but I would not be upset if Peyton Manning was the starting quarterback of the team I was on. It would be an honor to sit behind him and learn. I'd hold that clipboard with pride. I would have no problem with that. I would not come in and demand to be the starter."
Griffin graduated from Copperas Cove High School in Copperas Cove, Texas. Griffin's mother, Jacqueline, and father, Robert, Jr., are both retired U.S. Army sergeants. Robert Griffin II spent 21 years in the service and served in battle. He now counsels veterans. Jacqueline Griffin served for 12 years, and Robert Griffin III was born in Okinawa, Japan. The family settled in Texas 14 years ago.
"I'm a military kid. Both my parents were in the military," said Griffin. "My mom did 12 years, my dad did 21, served in two wars. Discipline was something that was obviously huge. If you say you were going to do something, you did. If you started it, you finished it. Yes, sir, no, ma'am. You've got to have that kind of structure in your life. It helped me be that disciplined person I am, whether it's with workouts, film or just the game of football."
DRAFT NOTE: The first overall pick in the NFL Draft has been a quarterback in eight of the past 10 years. Here is a list of the top two quarterbacks taken since 2002:
Year Names (team, overall choice)
2002 David Carr (Houston, first); Joey Harrington (Detroit, third)
2003 Carson Palmer (Cincinnati, first); Byron Leftwich (Jacksonville, seventh)
2004 Eli Manning (San Diego, first); Philip Rivers (New York Giants, fourth)
2005 Alex Smith (San Francisco, first); Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay, 24th)
2006 Vince Young (Tennessee, third); Matt Leinart (Arizona, 10th)
2007 JaMarcus Russell (Oakland, first); Brady Quinn (Cleveland, 22nd)
2008 Matt Ryan (Atlanta, third); Joe Flacco (Baltimore, 18th)
2009 Matthew Stafford (Detroit, first); Mark Sanchez (New York Jets, fifth)
2010 Sam Bradford (St. Louis, first); Tim Tebow (Denver, 25th)
2011 Cam Newton (Carolina, first); Jake Locker (Tennessee, eighth)