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National Signing Day means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. For Shaquem Griffin, a 6-foot-1, 183-pound defensive back out of St. Petersburg, Fla., it meant everything.
His signing on Wednesday with Central Florida meant a validation of a lifetime of hard work stuck behind the eight ball.
Griffin only has one hand.
But that fact has hardly slowed him down. According to Yahoo! Sports, Griffin was born with Amniotic Band Syndrome, meaning his amniotic sack wrapped around his left wrist, severely stunting the growth of his hand. It was painful, unsightly, and it was useless. Despite his mother’s reservations, Griffin had the hand amputated at the ripe young age of just four years old.
“Absolutely [Tangie Griffin made the right choice],” Shaquem told MaxPreps. “I wanted to have fun in my life. I wanted to do what Shaquill and all the other kids could do. I wanted to do the things I love.
“I adapted pretty fast so if kids noticed, they’d ask and I’d tell them and that was pretty much it. I never want people to feel nervous around me so I’m glad when they do ask.”
Griffin has a twin brother, Shaquill. The two were recruited as a tandem by Boston College, USF and UCF. They were adamant in their desire to play together, and eventually chose Central Florida due to its proximity to their parents.
Shaquem made an unreal catch in the International Bowl, earning himself a spot on SportCenter’s top 10. However, the hard work he put into the game has earned him so much more.
It has earned him the chance to play with his twin brother, to earn a free education and to make his parents unbelievably proud. With or without a left hand.