They say big things come in small packages, and in 2012 the Alabama Crimson Tide may receive its most impactful freshman performance via 3 star kicker Adam Griffith.
Griffith is not the biggest player from the 2012 signing class (That would be Alphonse Taylor at a whopping 6-foot-6 and 340lbs) or the most highly touted (That honor would go to Landon Collins or TJ Yeldon). However at just 5’11 and 165lbs, it is Griffith who may make the biggest difference for the Crimson Tide in 2012.
When Tide fans think about the 2012 season, the first memory that comes to mind is the complete thrashing of the LSU Tigers in the Superdome on January 9th. The next memory will be the game that almost cost Alabama a shot at its 14th championship, a 9-6 loss inTuscaloosa to those same LSU Tigers.
It was that November 5th evening under the bright lights of Bryant Denny stadium and the watchful eyes of a national audience when Alabama, a team that prior to the game seemed unstoppable, was found to be with weakness in the kicking game.
Over the course of the evening Cade Foster and Jeremy Shelley lined up for 6 field goals, only connecting on two. The misses would prove to be crucial as three came in regulation (1 of those kicks would have won the game) and the final came in overtime, securing the Tide’s fate.
As the season wore down, the kicking game remained inconsistent as Foster would not make another field goal and Shelley’s opportunities would be limited, especially beyond 40 yards.
He is not the first kicker to join the Crimson Tide with expectations to shore up the kicking game (Corey Smith and Foster both came to Tuscaloosa with much acclaim), but there is something about the incoming freshman that makes me feel like he can handle the pressure of kicking for one of college football’s elite.
Growing up,Griffith didn’t have the typical American childhood. In fact, much of his childhood was not even spent in theUnited States.
Griffith, a native of Poland, spent much of his childhood living in Polish orphanage, dodging trouble on a daily basis by taking to the soccer fields. Eventually he was adopted by an American family and took the kicking skills he harnessed on the futbol field to kick field goals on the football field.
At Calhoun High School (Ga.) when Griffith wasn’t connecting on 50 yard field goal attempts, he was pinning opponents deep in their own ends with strikes traveling over 70 yards on kickoffs. Then, when the heat was turned up,Griffithnever broke a sweat, knocking a 32 yard field goal through the uprights in overtime to clinch a state championship.
It has been said mental toughness is one of the most important attributes in a football player, especially kickers. Adam Griffith has already been through the worst, so kicking field goals comes easy.
While TJ Yeldon may make the highlight reels with long, powerful runs, Landon Collins will help shore the secondary, and Amari Cooper will give Alabama a big play wide receiver threat they haven’t had since Julio Jones, it is Griffith who will make the biggest difference by shoring up Alabama’s one glaring weakness.
After all, big things come in small packages.