February 5, 2009
Antonio Griggs prefers to take a positive approach.
But even someone who has a reputation for being a hard worker and for setting a good example had to be a little concerned that there weren''t a lot of schools recruiting him to play football.
Football recruiting, though, can change in an instant.
For Griggs, all it took was one phone call to set the process in motion.
On Wednesday, Griggs concluded his whirlwind recruitment by signing a national letter of intent play football at Mississippi Valley State University.
The 6-foot-1, 270-pound West Lowndes High School senior was one of 20 players who signed a letter of intent to play football for the Delta Devils (3-8 last season) in 2009.
Aside from some early interest from Duke, Griggs admitted he didn''t have a lot of schools recruiting him. Griggs said East Mississippi Community College and Southwest C.C. were possible options until the day in December when he learned of a phone call that ultimately changed his life.
"One day (MVSU assistant) coach (Riley) Murry called (West Lowndes coach Bobby) Berry and came to the school and I filled out their questionnaire," Griggs said. "
The standout right tackle/defensive tackle said MVSU coaches watched tape of him and soon after called back to offer him a scholarship. Early in January, Griggs visited the MVSU and knew it was for him.
"They treated me just like I was their son, and I fell in love with it," Griggs said.
Griggs said MVSU recruited him to play defense. He said he is fine with that because he loves to hit people.
That mentality should serve Griggs well next season.
Berry said its only part of a positive package MVSU will get with Griggs.
"The coaches saw him on film and really wanted him and they stayed after him," Berry said. "With his positive attitude, his parents, and his grandmother and them behind him they are going to push him to be the best he can be. As long as he keeps his head straight, he can do anything in the world he wants to."
Griggs said his signing Wednesday is the realization of a dream that was born the first day he stepped on the football field in high school.
A four-year starter, Griggs feels his positive attitude will help him make the transition to college football.
"I am always willing to work hard and push my teammates to get out and do what they have to do to help the team win each and every day," said Griggs, who credits his mother, Teresia Griggs, for helping him sustain a positive attitude.
"Now my dream is fulfilled and I can go play ball somewhere else," Griggs said.
Berry said Griggs has matured from an elementary school student who served as the team manager to someone who is a solid student (better tan a 3.0 grade-point "He was a little short and a pleasantly plump young man, but he grew to be the young man he is now," Berry said. "He worked hard, he worked hard in the weight room, and he did the things he needed to do. He always was eager to learn and eager to play."
n In other signing news Wednesday, Aberdeen High School offensive lineman Barry Fort and quarterback Marcus Hinton signed with William Penn and Jones County C.C. respectively.
Caledonia High School''s Devin Hawkins signed with EMCC, and Louisville''s Malcolm Kincaid and Randy Hornsberger signed to play football at East Central C.C.
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.