Former Oakmont Regional and UMass running back John Griffin has signed with the Cincinnati Bengals, and will compete for a roster spot when the team opens training camp in Georgetown, Ky. on Saturday.
Griffin was an All-CAA first team selection at Northeastern University back in 2009, before the school dropped the program. He transferred to UMass with one year of eligibility and ranked second on the team in rushing (168 carries, 843 yards, 5 TD) to Leominster's own Jonathan Hernandez.
“I felt good,” Griffin told the Worcester Telegram & Gazette. “I'm just excited to have another place to go and try to keep playing.”
His career at Oakmont is a unique story. Originally from Texas, where his father played for the Longhorns, Griffin moved to Westminster prior to his freshman year and made a name for himself in track and field, setting the school record in the 100-meter dash and also winning a state championship in the event. Griffin came out for the football team as a senior in 2006, after dabbling in the junior varsity as a freshman, and promptly shattered the Spartans' single-season records in total points scored and touchdowns (25). The Spartans went on to beat Frontier Regional in the Division 3 Super Bowl for their first Super Bowl title since 1984.
Griffin is the first Oakmont grad in three decades to be invited to an NFL training camp. Shawn Halloran, who backed up Doug Flutie before quarterbacking Boston College to victory in the 1985 Hall of Fame Bowl, made three appearances for the St. Louis Cardinals in the strike-shortened 1987 season.