2018 kicker Caleb Griffin of Danville, Illinois, has one of the best legs in the state, and programs in the area have taken notice over the past few months.
The 6-foot-3, 185-pound prospect has been in talks with Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Northern Illinois, Bowling Green, and Ball State. He gave an update on where he stands with each school.
“Indiana, NIU, and Bowling Green have a scholarship available for a kicker in this class, so they have been telling me that is a possibility,” Griffin said. “Illinois is for sure a preferred walk-on and Iowa is a PWO right now as well, but they are still deciding on making that a scholarship. Ball State just received a transfer from Miami (OH), so they're going to wait and see how that situation plays out. And once they see how that goes, they'll decide if they're going to put him on a scholarship or offer me a scholarship.”
Despite Illinois recruiting Griffin as a preferred walk-on, he stressed that the staff has definitely made him feel like a priority. He has visited campus several times and the idea of offering him a scholarship has been discussed on numerous occasions.
Unfortunately, it may simply be a case of bad timing.
“I wish there was a scholarship available,” Griffin said. “Coach Ligashesky told me I'm the guy he wants at Illinois out of the kickers he's seen. And Coach Smith told me if there was a scholarship available, he would offer it to me. But there isn't one right now, so it's going to be a PWO spot. But, he did say there may be a scholarship available for me after my freshman year.”
Even though Griffin acknowledged that he would prefer a full-ride scholarship, Illinois remains a serious contender in his recruitment. Griffin thinks very highly of the in-state program for several reasons.
“I have a really good relationship with Coach Lig,” Griffin said. “And I have a teammate committed to Illinois, I know a couple players at Illinois now, and I also know another commit in the 2018 class. Also, Illinois is 30 minutes from home, so family and friends could watch or visit at any time. And I've seen the new plans for the facilities, and I think they are intriguing.”
As Griffin mentioned, he has personal connections with both current and future Illini football players. He has spoken with 2018 commit Julian Pearl and current freshman defensive tackle Kendrick Green, and the two have reaffirmed Griffin's positive perception of the Illinois program.
“I've talked with Julian about it before a few times, and we both think it would be awesome,” Griffin said. “And Kendrick has told me how the team is on the rise and this will be a special group to be a part of, so that has stuck with me.”
In the month of June, Griffin participated in handful of satellite camps across Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, and even Alabama. He still has a few stops left this month, but it appears things are finally beginning to slow down for the time being.
“I'm going to showcase camps in Florida and Wisconsin later this month, but I don't have any other visits planned at the moment.” Griffin said. “It would be nice to make a decision before school starts, but I wouldn't mind waiting it out. If I haven't made a decision by the start of school, though, I will probably start to plan some visits.”
Griffin takes pride in being a multi-sport athlete, as he also plays soccer, baseball, and basketball in high school. Even though he enjoys those sports and recognizes their value, he believes focusing solely on football at the collegiate level will help sharpen his skill set.
“I think one thing that is positive about me is that I'm an athlete and not just a kicker,” Griffin said. “And with my kicking, I think my kickoffs are really good, and my field goals have good height and I've continued to gain more distance. I'm becoming a better punter than I was before, and I'd say that's probably my biggest weakness. But once I am able to start focusing on just kicking and not three other sports, I will become a whole lot better and fix most of the issues I have right now.”