One-handed defender, one-handed interception: new UCF signee Shaquem Griffin’s amazing play

Jay Busbee


The University of Central Florida signed twin brothers Shaquem and Shaquill Griffin on Wednesday, which is a story in itself. Even more impressive is just how many obstacles Shaquem has had to clear to get to this point.

On Tuesday night, both brothers played in the International Bowl, a contest pitting American high school students against players from around the world. And as you can see, Shaquem Griffin made an exceptional one-handed interception ... exceptional in part because he has only one hand.

Shaquem was a victim of Amniotic Band Syndrome, a problem affecting fetuses in utero in which a portion of the amniotic sac wraps around the hand and deforms it. As a child, Shaquem was in constant pain, even reportedly asking his mother to get a kitchen knife to remove his useless left hand. Finally, when Shaquem was four, doctors removed the left hand.

He dedicated himself to sports, and became one of St. Petersburg, Florida's finest athletes. He also maintained a strong GPA, and demanded that he and his brother Shaquill be recruited together. They were offered scholarships at 14 mid-major schools.

"Shaquem Griffin is one of the most amazing stories I've ever heard in football," said USA Football director Garrett Shea. "For the young man to overcome such a physical challenge to play at this level speaks not only of who he is but his brother as well. … To see and hear how they interact with one another and act as such a support system, it's just great for all of us to be around."


[Via Deadspin]

Other Signing Day content on Yahoo! Sports:
National Signing Day winners and losers
Pat Forde: Vanderbilt stages a Signing Day worth celebrating
Notre Dame's Signing Day to remember
National Signing Day: Conference breakdown