Big Red faithful, mount up.
Olaijah Griffin’s coming. Soon.
“My dad has traveled through there a couple of times,” Griffin, a 2018 4-star cornerback from Mission Viejo, Calif., told Land of 10. “He said it felt pretty nice out there … he was on a tour and he went through Nebraska. He said it’s pretty rad.”
And dad would know. Griffin’s father is Warren Griffin III — better known by his stage name of Warren G, who dropped one of the seminal rap albums of the 1990s (1994’s Regulate…G Funk Era) and seminal hip-hop songs of all time in “Regulate”:
Dad rolls, but the son rocks. A two-way threat who also shines at receiver, the 6-foot target notched a Huskers offer back on Dec. 17.
In the month since, the Big Red haven’t strayed too far from his mind.
Or, for that matter, his Twitter feed.
— G-CHILD++® (@OlaijahGriffin) December 17, 2016
“I think they have a good football team and their fan base is amazing,” Griffin said of Nebraska. “That’s another reason why I’d really like to go there.”
He’s working on setting up a visit, so he can see the rad his father mentioned for himself. A student of the game — and the game’s history, admitting that he’ll sometimes lose hours watching old Deion Sanders game film — Griffin has heard plenty about the Memorial Stadium sellout streak, the balloons, the national titles, the Blackshirts and the Sea of Red, flowing from coast to coast.
“I know,” Griffin said. “They’re wild.”
And he loves it. Seriously. The junior’s Huskers announcement picked up 158 retweets and 650 “likes,” mostly from Nebraska fans who weren’t shy about reaching out — as any Army All-American Bowl prospect will attest.
“They weren’t annoying,” Griffin laughed. “A lot of people just kept hitting me up (on Twitter). It wasn’t really annoying. It was cool. I felt like I had fans.”
‘At this stage, he’s a better cover corner than Adoree Jackson’
Fans and game. Griffin’s been clocked at a 4.64 in the 40-yard dash, a 4.11 in the 20-yard shuttle and recorded a 32-inch vertical jump. And he closes like a beast:
— G-CHILD++® (@OlaijahGriffin) September 10, 2016
— UnderTheRadar (@_UnderTheRadar_) June 14, 2016
One of my favorite defensive backs in the 2018 class, Olaijah Griffin. pic.twitter.com/V8kAOlKPJ1
— Gerard Martinez (@gmartlive) June 12, 2016
— Warren G (@regulator) November 5, 2016
“He’s very mature for his age, knows what’s in front of him,” said Armond Hawkins, Griffin’s coach with GroundZero, one of Southern California’s top 7-on-7 programs. “He’s not seeking media attention on social media and things like that. He just gets it. And a lot of (players), including mine, they don’t get it yet. I have to instill that in them.
“He’s more versatile than anybody I’ve had, because he’s going to play slot (receiver) for us. He’s going to be the best corner. He’s a little different when it comes to comparing him to somebody. I would say he’s just as athletic as (USC corner) Adoree Jackson. But probably, at this stage, he’s a better cover corner than Adoree Jackson, and definitely a better route runner.”
We’ve heard this song before, of course, with mixed results. Justin Combs, P Diddy’s son, was rated as a 3-star cornerback by 247Sports.com in the class of 2012 and signed with UCLA, but his tenure in Westwood was, um, stormy, at best. Cordell Broadus, son of rapper Snoop Dogg, was a 4-star wideout in the Bruins’ class of 2015, but left the program before playing a down.
But, as Hawkins stressed, Griffin grew up surrounded by hip-hop royalty — Dr. Dre is Warren G’s stepbrother — and grew up having already tasted life inside the media fishbowl.
“I just try to live,” Griffin said, “like a regular kid.”
Olaijah picked up a football for the first time at age 4 and never really let go, tagging along with his big brother at games and practices, soaking it in, honing his craft.
Dude doesn’t need a hat dance to stroke his ego. He gets it.
“Little Diddy was a 2-star,” Scout.com recruiting director Brandon Huffman said. “Snoop’s kid is actually good, but by the time he got around to college, he wanted to be an entertainer and make movies.
“Olaijah Griffin is a bona fide, 100 percent stud. He’s tough. He’s our No. 2 corner out west. He can play.”
‘We get along really well’
And play both ways, ideally. Griffin hopes to work on both offense and defense at the next level. He says Nebraska is down with the whole two-way thing, down with opening up the playbook, Jabrill Peppers style.
“That just makes me want to work harder,” Griffin said, “and try to be greater than I already am.”
At least one Huskers assistant is already trying to help with that last part. Griffin hooked up with new Huskers cornerbacks coach Donte Williams this past fall, and the two clicked instantly.
“We’ve been talking for a couple months now,” Griffin said. “He taught me a couple of techniques. We get along really well. He was very encouraging … whenever I made a mistake, he would look at my film and teach me (how) to be better.
“I feel really good with (Williams), so maybe they could be one of the top.”
The line’s not getting any shorter. Griffin’s piled up at least 11 reported offers so far. The trick for the Huskers now is turning theirs into one the kid can’t possibly refuse.