Chase Griffin has had a lot of success at quarterback for the Hutto Hippos of Hutto, TX. The Hippos finished the 2017-18 season 11-2 (7-1 5A Region III District 19) and their championship run was cut short with a 35-32 regional loss to the Fort Bend Marshall Buffalos of Missouri City.
Griffin passed for 4,145 yards, 43 touchdowns and four interceptions as a junior at Hutto High School. He never finished a game with less than 200 passing yards and at least one touchdown. He was named a Fox Sports Built Ford Tough Texas High School Football Player of the Year finalist, district offensive MVP and he set school passing records for a career, season and game.
The 5’10, 180-pound 247Sports three-star quarterback from Round Rock didn’t play tackle football until the fifth grade and played soccer from the age of four up to about 10 or 11. His favorite sport was always football and his favorite player was NFL Hall of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson so he wanted to play running back.
Right now, Chase Griffin only holds a scholarship offer from Yale, has visited the school and Harvard has shown him interest. A lot of schools like what they see on film and keep in touch on social media and with mail.
DiMoro Sports: What motivates you to play the game?
Griffin: “…There are a lot of factors that motivate me to play as far as me being a competitor. I’m going to compete in whatever I do. Something that I try to live by, it’s Yogi Roth and Pete Carroll’s thing, I know Yogi Roth from being a Ball Boy at the Elite 11 but always compete in everything you do. When you get to compete in something you love in a sport like football, for me, it just makes it that much better. The work comes easy because you’re working [toward] a goal that you want and that you created for yourself.”
DiMoro Sports: Is there anyone who had special impact on you growing up and why?
Griffin: “Really, three people. I’d say number one [is], my mother. She has always just taught me how to be myself. Not only that but my father [as well]. Me being in sports, soccer and then football where he could coach youth as far as the football side of it, was definitely big for me. On a day-to-day [basis], I probably spend more time with my father than any other person who has a meaningful impact on my life. Number three is Coach George Whitfield out in San Diego. When I met him, he just told my father he wanted to train me all the way up and it’s definitely been a blessing with all the opportunities and experiences he has allowed me to be a part of. I’m thankful for that.”
DiMoro Sports: What was the moment you realized you could play football and you were good at it?
Griffin: “It’s actually kind of funny, the first time I ever played football was when I was 10 turning 11 in fifth grade. I remember we had the first scrimmage and I didn’t do well. It hurt me incredibly that I didn’t do well because I had been waiting to play football all this time and when I did it, I wasn’t very good. It all came together by the first game that season and we went 8-1 [that year] and won the league championship. It’s only Pop Warner but you always want to have seasons like that. I think I always had self-confidence because I was always doing something and taught to excel. Excelling was the main reason why you do something. You try to do something to perfection, you never get there but just working to it is its own reward. I’ve always had that self-belief but it wasn’t really until it manifested on the field that others started to see it.”
DiMoro Sports: What can Chase Griffin bring to a university not only on it but off of it as well?
Griffin: “I feel like I could bring a quarterback that’s not going to be outworked and I can make the QB room and the entire team better. My motto is “everyone eats” My foundation in the game can transition well up each level of competition. I don’t feel like there is a player with a better understanding of the game and work and performance ethic quite like mine. I would just look for places that I can flourish and where they can see me [progress] in their program.”
DiMoro Sports: What academic interests do you have that maybe can serve as a possible backup plan or second career after football?
Griffin: “I definitely like engineering and business. I can consider myself a problem-solver and engineering is right up my alley. Right now, engineering is what I take my electives in. I always wanted to design prosthetics for people that have physical limitations, so that they can live as full a life as possible. I also have an interest in water desalination, which is basically taking the salt out of water in an expedient way. That way we could use the world’s saltwater as drinking water.”
DiMoro Sports: When do you plan to make your commitment decision?
Griffin: “I really look for three things in [a school]: number one is academics. If a school is known for its academic prestige, I could see myself going there. It boosts its stock for me. Where I put my time and effort as far as the recruiting process at the end of the season will be to schools like that. Number two, do they have an offense and a coach I can trust where I think they’ll let me flourish and compete. There are great schools in the PAC-12, Ivy League, there are schools in each conference that have a combination of both. Number three, would it be somewhere I would want to go to school and live for four years. I was born in Los Angeles, I like the Northeast, I have family in the northeast. I’ve been there 50 times. I just love it up there and I love the west coast because I am from there. Really there are places all over where I feel like I could fit and be a great quarterback.”
DiMoro Sports: Do you have any NFL quarterbacks you model your game after?
Griffin: “Drew Brees is probably the best comparison. Him or Russell Wilson. Russell Wilson is a guy who if you set up plays where he has to deal from the pocket, even though he’s 5’10, no one is taller than their whole offensive line. That’s how I look it. Unless you’re six-foot-seven, you’re not going to be taller than your whole offensive line. If you’re 5’10 or six-foot-two, it really doesn’t change anything in Russell Wilson’s case. I feel like I can model my game after him or Drew Brees. One of the most efficient quarterbacks of all-time, one of the most accurate quarterbacks of all-time. Both of them battle misconceptions about quarterbacks who aren’t giants.”
DiMoro Sports: When I looked at your midseason junior highlight film, I was impressed with your ability to throw the deep ball, your accuracy on throws is very impressive and you have great pocket presence in addition to getting yards running the ball. What do you think is the best part of your game?
Griffin: “I’m going to find a completion on every single play. That’s something that carries the greats. The less flashy plays. People might see a guy throw 80 yards and there are guys that make a living doing that and they’re not going to be efficient but they are going to have some seven-touchdown games. That’s just how it is, however, guys like Tom Brady, the reason why they’re great is [that] they do the easiest thing on every single play. Tom Brady literally won the Super Bowl [in 2016] throwing 14 check downs. It’s how you make the game easiest for yourself and for your team. I try to find a completion on every play. I have a checklist that I create for each team through film each week where it’s just easy completions. As long as you take what the defense gives you, then the defense can’t stop the ball from coming down the field.”
DiMoro Sports: What do you still have to work on to be a better quarterback?
Griffin: “…There are things that we all can work on. I’m nowhere near where I want to be. Tom Brady [and] Drew Brees are the greatest QBs and they still work to try and get better. I can really work on everything but the number one thing is staying true to myself, staying true to a player who finds completions and true to a player who tries to make everyone around him better. Just take what the defense gives me and make plays when you need to, to win games.”
DiMoro Sports: At Quarterback, where do you feel you’re most effective? Throwing on the run, staying in the pocket, scrambling?
Griffin: “I definitely consider myself as someone who likes to shred defenses from the pocket. This offseason I worked a lot on my scrambling ability. There have been plays which are on my film where I have made plays that show the work I did this summer.”
DiMoro Sports: What do you enjoy most about playing Quarterback?
Griffin: “The number one thing about playing quarterback that appeals to me is I’m an ultimate competitor and you get to be successful through other people. There’s no position in football where you have the same control over the game. On the competitive side as a quarterback, there’s not a more demanding position in football. I take that as playing quarterback is almost a sport itself. The mindset is different, the requirements mentally and physically are different. I think as a competitor, I really revere that aspect.”
DiMoro Sports: When your time is all said and done at Hutto, what will you miss the most about playing there and how do you want to be remembered?
Griffin: “I think every great player wants to be remembered as a great player, great competitor and left the program better than it was when I came there. Hutto had Jeremy Kerley who’s playing every Sunday for the Jets and now has his name up at the stadium. I just [want] to be remembered as one of those players, a model of what a program should be. I feel like there’s more room for me to improve. What I will is the same thing you miss at the end of any game, just being on the field and competing against competitors and with people you practice with every day. Playing somewhere close to home is always a blessing. Parents are able to be right there, all your friends from school and coaches that have been around you since you were 14 all the way up to 18, when you’re able to compete in that environment, there are not too many places like a football field.”