Alabama fans are all excited to have highly-touted kicker Adam Griffith come to town, but there is more to Griffith than his amazing kicking potential. His story is as amazing as his foot.
A story was done by the Calhoun Times (Georgia) back in 2009 when Griffith was a 16-year-old boy at a time when most Alabama fans had never heard the name Adam Griffith.
As a young man playing high school football in Georgia with a plain and common name initial appearances belied his truly incredible story.
Here is a rundown of some interesting facts brought to light.
º He began his sports career as a soccer player. That's fairly common for American football kickers, but he started in his native homeland, Poland.
º Griffith is not his original surname. It was the name he received when his parents, Tom and Michelle Griffith, adopted him.
º He left his hometown, Stargard Szczcinski (a town smaller than Tuscaloosa), at age 13 to come to the U.S.
º He did not speak English when he first arrived.
º He had never seen an American football game before he played for the first time.
º "Lose Yourself" (edited version) by Eminem is a song that Griffith finds very inspirational, and the chorus really defines the moments a kicker must face.
º He wanted to be a punter as well back in 2009. Only time will tell if he assumes those duties at Alabama as well.
º He originally planned to go to the University of Georgia, his new home state.
º In his senior year he kicked four field goals (one of them to win the game) in the Class AA state title game.
º He was a 2011 Sports Illustrated first team high school All-American.
When I first heard of Adam Griffith back in mid-November, 2011, all I knew about him was that he was a good kicker, and Alabama had just lost to LSU due to kicking issues. It was good news to hear that he had verbally committed.
I immediately thought of Oakland Raiders kicker Sebastian Janikowski when I read that Griffith is from Poland, but birth-place and kicking ability are where the similarities end. Janikowski is a mammoth at 6'2" and 250 lbs. Griffith is only 5'11" and 175 lbs.
He may have some trouble tackling some bigger returners but that's not what the Tide needs him for. They have guys like Vinnie Sunseri to do that.
Adam Griffith's story is quite a unique one. Being adopted at age 13 by parents in a country where you do not speak their language can be a difficult situation. He learned the language, is about to graduate high school and is headed to play for the most decorated team in all of college football.
Here's hoping that he makes Van and Leigh Tiffin proud.