Shaquem Griffin is used to being doubted. Skeptics create football with one hand.
But the Central Florida linebacker, now invited to the NFL Draft in 2018, said the support he felt during his career gave him a boost.
"I was a guy who was under the radar and they did not believe in it at first, but I feel that they are starting to believe now," Griffin said after his pro-day training on Mike Bianchi of Orlando Sentinel . "I now have the entire nation behind me."
Griffin is more than just an inspiring story, though even if that were all, he would be enough. Yesterday there was another chance to show scouts his skills as a footballer, the same ones who initially did not want to invite him to the scouting combine before he gave in.
But his story of overcoming the birth defect that cost him his left hand 4 years old was not enough for some, and he admitted that it was difficult for him not to be invited to the Combine first.
"I was disappointed that I was not invited first, but it was not just me, it was the whole nation," Griffin said. "First I published a tweet when I was not invited and the whole nation is behind me and they were not happy about it … I would like to thank all those who are behind me and I still thank them, because the job is not done yet. "
The 4.38-second 40-yard dash and the 20 reps of the 225-pound bench shot have all won attention in Indianapolis, as well as tie-band, which shows he's his team helping to an unbeaten season with his pass-rush skills and playmaking.
"Everyone is late for the party," said teammate Mike Hughes. "Anyone who lives in Orlando and has roots in UCF knows what Shaquem is capable of, and now the whole world is starting to recognize it."
Although he is not expected to be drafted in the first round, his story of perseverance will not be a pity if he has to spend an extra night in Dallas before finding his new team on the second or third day of the trial. And those who know him best are glad that others recognize this.