Matt Griffitt signs with Berry College
by Erich Hilkert
Feb 18, 2014 | 1186 views |  0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
SYLACAUGA—Sylacauga tight end Matt Griffitt had several scholarship opportunities but in the end, it was Berry College that gave him the strongest sense of familiarity.

“I went for an overnight visit,” Griffitt said of his trip to the college in Rome, Ga. “At first, I went for a day visit and they invited me back for what they said was a top recruits weekend. So, I stayed the night with a player and it went well. I fell in love with it. I really like the facilities. They have top-of-the-line facilities and the campus and the people, it just really felt like home.”

Griffit said it was tough to turn down two other outstanding programs.

“It was definitely a tough decision between them, Birmingham-Southern and Rhodes,” he said. “Birmingham-Southern and Rhodes are both great programs and they’re both looking good for the future, but I just fell in love with Berry and couldn’t say no to it.”

Berry College began their football program this last season with an overwhelming number of the team being freshmen. It is a program that is still building after finishing their inaugural season 1-9. Griffitt said the prospect of being able to come in and compete for playing time right away was appealing.

“Personally, I think I have a good chance to get in there and get some solid playing team my first year being the young program that they are,” he said. “That’s one of the things I looked at. I think I had a good chance of going anywhere and getting some solid playing time, but at Berry I thought I had a good chance of making a big difference on their team and contributing a lot.”

During his senior season, Griffitt earned a first team selection on the All-County team.

Sylacauga head coach Matt Griffith believes Griffitt has a skill set that is hard to find, at least one major factor in why Griffitt generated interest from three different programs.

“I’ll tell you what he is and you don’t get to see many of them: Matt is an old-fashioned tight end,” Griffith said.

“Everybody plays with the h-back now in a spread offense. We’re a combination of spread and old-school stuff out of it. Matt is one of those few kids who can play up in a spread and when we shift and he puts his hand down like an old-fashioned tight end, he can play that too. To me, that brings uniqueness to the table. I think Berry runs a style of offense that Matt will play with his hand down some. I think that’s going to help him.”

Griffith reiterated a point he has made time and time again: an athlete who works hard in the classroom greatly improves the odds of receiving attention from prospective colleges.

“They’re getting a guy that—yet again that Sylacauga kid that is a good football player, but is an outstanding academic kid,” Griffith said. “A 29 on the ACT, 4.2 or 4.3 grade point average, he is just a tremendous academic kid. They’re getting a good one.”

Griffith said in addition to his physical skills and academic achievements, Griffitt was an outstanding leader for the Aggies.

“It’s hard to find a kid that can block like a tackle and catch like a receiver and Matt can do that,” Griffith said.

“He had five or six touchdown passes we were throwing him. We really did a lot to try to highlight him because his hands were so good. He’s a tremendous leader. He had an unfortunate knee injury against Shelby Co. early in the game when we hit him with a hot route. He had to have ACL surgery and he’s recovering from that, but we expect him to have a full recovery. The leadership he gave the team was outstanding.”

After the Shelby Co. game, Griffitt continued to show up to Sylacauga’s games, crutches and all, to cheer for his teammates.

“I was trying to give them whatever support I could, just do whatever I can for the team,” Griffitt said. “I love those guys, they’re brothers to me.”