University of Central Florida Knights linebacker Shaquem Griffin celebrates after the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl NCAA football game on January 1, 2018 at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Photo by David Tulis/UPI | License Photo
The NFL Scouting Combine ended Monday, with the star of the show being Shaquem Griffin, the one-handed linebacker from Central Florida who surprised and inspired in athletic testing after being a late invitee to the event.
"Oh, my goodness, the Twitter and everything has been going crazy," he said Monday during a live interview with the NFL Network. "It's too many names to even say who I heard from. It's amazing to see that people acknowledge what I'm doing and just loving it."
Griffin did mention he had heard from NFL stars J.J. Watt and Von Miller on social media, as well as Hall of Famer Deion Sanders. That worked out well, because Sanders was helping provide Monday coverage on the NFL Network and chimed in to the call.
"You are what dreams are made of," Sanders told Griffin.
"You have no idea how many people are rooting for you and behind you. I've watched you. I'm not just jumping on your wagon right now. I watched you play a couple of games this year and you were totally dominant.
"With what you accomplished at the Combine, with your game film, baby, you've got it. You've got it. And I cannot wait to see you in the NFL."
Griffin replied: "It's an honor to be able to hear that from you. I was just trying to get my Prime Time on."
Griffin used a prosthetic on his amputated left hand to record 20 repetitions of 225 pounds in the bench press on Saturday and then, at 227 pounds, was clocked at a staggering 4.38 seconds in his first running of the 40-yard dash.
That was the fastest 40 time for a linebacker since at least 2003, according to the NFL Network.
Griffin entered the Combine as a fourth- to fifth-round prospect -- and rising -- according to NFLDraftScout.com. On Sunday, NFLDraftScout.com senior analyst Dane Brugler tweeted that Griffin "now has a legit chance at the top-100 after what he did in Indy." That would put him in range of the third round or early fourth round.
Sanders told Griffin he was going to give him his phone number after the interview.
"Anything you want to talk about, anything you need, anything you desire. I don't need anything from you, I just want to make sure you have all the tools and the resources to be successful on and off the field," Sanders said.
"I'm proud of you, man."