New York Jets tackle Robert Griffin states he has always been bigger than his foes.
Growing up in Euless, Texas, the 6'6", 330-pound rookie began playing football in the seventh grade. However, prior to football, Griffin participated in basketball and was a member of an AAU select team.
"It was tough to leave basketball," he said. "I still play every now and then when I have free time. The way I look at football is either you got it or you don't. When I got on the football field, I told myself that I think I got it."
In middle school and high school, Griffin was positioned as a defensive tackle and tight end. He shifted to offensive line once he reached college.
Griffin, whose teammates refer to him as "RG300," started his collegiate journey at Navarro Community College before transferring to Baylor in 2010. His senior season at Baylor was his most memorable as he helped lead the Bears to a 10-3 record and a 67-56 win over Washington in the Alamo Bowl.
"Playing in the Alamo Bowl, that was a great bowl game because it was one of the top bowl games and we scored one of the highest point totals in a bowl game," he said.
After concluding his collegiate career in style, Griffin was selected by the Jets in the sixth round of April's NFL draft, interestingly one pick ahead of his collegiate teammate, RB Terrance Ganaway, also selected by the Jets.
"It's good to have a [college] teammate at the next level because you're looking at 83 other guys and then there's one guy out there who plays on the offense also that you can talk to," Griffin said.
Griffin believes he and Ganaway are closer today than they were at Baylor: "He's there for me and I'm there for him."
Transitioning from the college ranks to the pros hasn't been the easiest process for Griffin. One of the biggest adjustments he acknowledged has been getting familiar with the Jets' playbook, saying that Baylor's playbook "was like three pages" whereas the Green & White's playbook is much more detailed.
"Knowing the playbook, it's hard," he said. "It's not going to come in one day. It's going to take time. It's going to take plenty of time."
Another change Griffin has picked up on since entering the NFL has been the level of coaching. He's enjoyed his time thus far being instructed by Jets first-year offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo.
"He's probably one of the funniest coaches I've ever been around," Griffin said. "He will clown you if you mess up. He will get on you if you mess up. He will embarrass you in front of everybody if you mess up.
"He doesn't care. You better get things right. He ain't gonna sugarcoat nothing. That's one thing I like about Coach Guge is that he will tell you straight up. He's an Italian guy. He's from Boston and he's not about to lie to you."
So far with the Jets, Griffin has excelled in run-blocking but feels he needs to improve his foot speed and pass-blocking. He also mentioned that Jets DT Sione Po'uha has been the toughest player to match up against because of Po'uha's combination of size and strength.
"I'm in a learning process right now," Griffin said, "and I'm going to keep learning it every day and pretty soon it's going to turn up a notch."
Quarterback Mark Sanchez commented that he's been pleased with what RG300 has been able to display on the field in camp.
"He's learning a lot on the fly and he's been great about just keeping his head down and working, trying not to get discouraged when things don't go right, understanding that there are bumps in the road as a rookie," Sanchez said. "But he's playing really well, working hard and we're proud of him."
Aside from football, Griffin enjoys playing video games, tennis and even swimming.
"I like to swim a lot," he said. "A lot of people say black people can't swim, but I'll go off and jump off a cliff into the ocean any day."
As training camp moves into its second week here in Cortland, No. 75 on the Green & White aspires to accomplish one thing this season.
"I want to make the team," Griffin said. "I don't want to make the practice squad. That's not my goal, man. I don't want to make the lowest thing on the board. "I want to go for high things. That's one thing that you can count on me doing is working for high goals and high achievements."