Over his 13-years in the Army, Josh Griffin has done tours in Afghanistan and Iraq with special ops.
He says the Army has taught him how to take care of his body and remain fit.
And by admitting him into a special program to complete his final two years of college while remaining on active duty in an ROTC program, it provided Griffin an opportunity to pursue a dream he thought had died when he tore a hamstring during his senior year of high school.
He says “it was always a dream for me to play ball, and then when I got the opportunity to come back to school to finish a degree, I was like, OK, let me go to a school where I can see if I can walk on.”
He says he end up at CSU by chance, he missed his flight to Los Angeles to meet with the USC coaching staff.
He was driving to the Denver airport but traffic was heavy, causing him to miss his flight.Figuring he was already halfway to Fort Collins at that point, he Googled the CSU football program, found contact information for longtime director of operations Tom Ehlers and accepted an invitation to drive up and visit.
From the ESPN piece:
“Tom Ehlers has been in this business long enough to know that a lot of the guys who say they want to walk on to the football team don't really mean it. They just aren't prepared for all the work involved and all the hoops you have to jump through. A lot of the time they don't even bother to follow up after an initial email...
Then Ehlers' phone rang. It was Griffin, saying, "I'm out in the lobby."Ehlers couldn't figure out how he got in the building -- "It's like Fort Knox" with all the security said one staffer -- but Griffin made it past the front door and found Ehlers' number on the counter.
Ehlers sized him up, impressed by his firm handshake and how well built he was.Ehlers guessed that Griffin, a 5-foot-10, 208-pound ball of muscle, was maybe 25 years old, 26 tops. Then the Houston native explained that he was in his 30s."Obviously he was doing something," Ehlers said. "Even for a soldier to be that fit at that old, he wasn't afraid to work.”...
With no game film and no access to SAT or ACT scores, David Stenklyft (the team's director of player personnel who runs the walk-on program) had his hands full, digging through the archives just for a simple transcript.
If not for his affinity for walk-ons -- Stenklyft's brother was a 12th man at Texas A&M -- he might have thrown in the towel.But Griffin kept showing up.
An exhausted Stenklyft would call Ehlers and tell him, "Josh Griffin called me again. He just won't leave me alone."Finally, Stenklyft told Griffin, "Why don't you come out and do the walk-on tryout and we'll go from there?"
Out of the 20 or so people to try out, only three were accepted: one wide receiver, one running back and Griffin, a defensive back at the time. Coach Mike Bobo says Griffin has been a role model for other players, “when he talks, the kids listen because he has real-life experience. He's been in battle. That's hard to imagine. I'm coaching football when I was 32 years old. He's 22-30 and he's fighting for our country. It's just an amazing story."