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Former Lakewood star Shaquem Griffin impresses in NFL debut

The former Lakewood and UCF standout might be the steal of the draft after recording a team-leading nine tackles for Seattle in the preseason opener.
Seattle Seahawks linebacker Shaquem Griffin (49) runs next to Indianapolis Colts tight end Erik Swoope (86) during the first half of an NFL football preseason game, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Published Aug. 10, 2018

Six months ago, Shaquem Griffin was a longshot to make an NFL roster. He was a late invitee to the combine and was taken in the fifth round by the Seattle Seahawks, a move that reunited him with his twin brother, Shaquill.

Now, Shaquem could be pushing to start at linebacker, especially after his performance in Thursday's preseason game against Indianapolis.

The former Lakewood and UCF standout recorded a team-high nine tackles, six solo.

Those numbers drew praise from Seattle coach Pete Carroll.

"I am really fired up about it," Carroll said of Griffin's performance on ESPN. "This is what he looks like in practice. He's running around. He's really fast. By understanding the schemes, he's utilizing his opportunities to be on the attack. He's a weapon in that regard.

"We have to see how accurate he was, if he was right if he was guessing a little bit, and how he hit it. We're really fired up. He was involved in nine or 10 tackles his first time out. That's pretty good. He played quite a bit. He played a lot in the middle portion of this game, so we'll get some really good looks."

Shaquem continues to have the national spotlight. On Friday, ESPN aired a segment in which he played himself in the Madden video game for the first time.

Shaquem downplayed his meteoric rise.

"I just played football," he told the team's official website after Thursday's performance. "Me just being here, it's amazing, and it's a blessing. I give all thanks to God, but I'm just here to play football."