Marcus Griffin moves forward in search of NFL opportunities, succeeds at Pro Day

Central Michigan offensive lineman Marcus Griffin gets ready to preform​ for NFL scouts at CMU Pro Day on March 14 at Turf Bay in the Indoor Athletic Complex.

Marcus Griffin walked off the field at Turf Bay in the Indoor Athletic Complex with a smile, laughing and appearing pleased with his Pro Day performance.

As he walked toward the sideline to recuperate, former teammates and friends greeted and congratulated him with each step.

If you didn’t know any of Griffin’s background, you would assume playing college football was always this easy. 

At 6-foot-3, Griffin was a four-star defensive tackle prospect coming out of Bellevue High School in Washington, where he was named all-state on offense and defense. He eventually committed to play at the University of Arizona for then-coach Rich Rodriguez.

Although he was highly touted, Griffin only appeared in 11 games and made five tackles for the Wildcats.

After his redshirt junior year at Arizona, Griffin was eligible to transfer as a graduate student and made the decision to come to Central Michigan.

Griffin entered the 2018 season hoping to reach some of that untapped potential he never could at Arizona, and use the opportunity to make the NFL.

However, success as a Chippewa would not come without struggles.

“It was a bittersweet opportunity,” Griffin said. “I kind of felt like some parts of that was a failure, but at the same time it was a learning lesson for me.”

Entering the season with a previously unknown injury was certainly one of those lessons for Griffin.

“I mean I came in with a torn labrum and me not knowing (that) and then finding out and doing what I could to try to stabilize that and build off that. But at a certain point in the season I just didn’t have anything I could give,” Griffin said.

Central Michigan offensive lineman Marcus Griffin runs for NFL scouts at CMU Pro Day on March 14 at Turf Bay in the Indoor Athletic Complex.

Another documented lesson for Griffin was his relationship with CMU defensive line coach George Ricumstrict. 

The two had a rocky relationship during Griffin’s time as a Chippewa, and he has talked about it in previous interviews, but at his Pro Day, Griffin seemed to be more at peace with the situation. 

When asked to reflect on his relationship with Ricumstrict, he laughed.

“I think I said in a previous interview that just we’re two different personalities, two different types of people," Griffin said. “Nothing against him, and I’m not gonna bad mouth him, but I’ll just say that our fits are completely different. That ended up causing some clashes that I wish didn’t happen. That’s life, nothing is a perfect scenario.”

Although he doesn’t want to cause tension with his former position coach, Griffin did say that he wished the two had been able to get along better. 

“I think it would have been an easier transition,” Griffin said. “It wasn’t like he made my life terrible or hell, but it was harder than it should have been, but I mean that’s his job.

"He’s not gonna apologize for what he did-- I’m not gonna apologize for what I did.”

Griffin ran a 5.12-second 40-yard dash at CMU’s Pro Day, which is good enough to put him near the top half of defensive line prospects that ran at the NFL Scouting Combine. During drills, Griffin showed off his ability to move quickly and believes scouts in attendance noticed that as well.

"I think I showed that I can move today, pretty well for my size. I think once I get home and lose the extra weight that I gained, I’ll be in a whole different bracket,” Griffin said.

Through the draft process, he has talked with a few teams and gotten the feeling he can enter NFL rookie mini-camp as an undrafted free agent, allowing him to work hard in front of a team to earn a roster spot. 

Walking off the field, Griffin finally appeared to be content as a Chippewa. He’s going to leave all of the baggage that has followed him from his days as a high school football star. From being labeled a bust at Arizona to dealing with the transition to CMU, Griffin is now closer to being an NFL player, and he is ready to work at it.

Griffin was asked if there are any teams in particular that he hopes to extend him a mini-camp invite.

“Whoever gives me the opportunity, I’ll make the most of it. I’ll be grateful for it. I just want to get in there.”