St. Cloud’s TJ Griffin thrusts himself onto recruiting radar with big offseason

It’s fair to say that St. Cloud multi-positional athlete TJ Griffin was not even a blip on the college football recruiting radar when the 2023 season ended.

Sure, he had some good games last season. At running back, he averaged seven yards per carry with 548 yards and nine touchdowns on just 77 carries. But they weren’t numbers that would cause a stir in the recruiting world. His film was good, but there are numerous running back in Central Florida with similar numbers.

As a receiver, he had 15 catches for 269 yards and one touchdown.

As a cornerback, he managed just 14 tackles in 10 games.

Needless to say, Griffin was not exactly blowing people away. A bout with bursitis in his left knee during the 2023 offseason didn’t help matters going into last year, but he’s back in 2024.

This offseason, there has been a lot more emphasis on preparation for the 5-foot-11, 175-pound do-it-all athlete. Griffin entered the year with an incredible determination that has seen his status as a college prospect rise tremendously, and although he has yet to receive his first college football scholarship offer, that day is coming.

Griffin, now the No. 47 prospect in the Sentinel’s 2025 Central Florida Super60, has put himself through a torrid offseason camp schedule that saw him shine at an underclassman all-star game, and be named as a top performer in a pair of camps. Then, this past weekend, Griffin was named defensive back MVP at the Prep Red Zone Combine at Orlando’s Boone High.

“I felt great,” Griffin said of Saturday’s performance. “I just kind of went in there with the mindset that I was gonna be the best, and once I got out there … I just kinda had to know what my job was.”

His work ethic has shown through and his drive to succeed has caught fire in the past few months.

“I just know that I have one more year and I need to do as much as I can for me to be healthy,” Griffin said. “I’m just waiting for that one school to come so I can have a few more looking at me.”

He decided after last season that he needed to not only take his own predicament and turn it as positive as he could but to also become the example among his teammates.

“I feel like my leadership has definitely stepped up. I’m more vocal on the field and I know what we’re supposed to be doing as a group,” Griffin said. “I feel like the majority of the team is about to step up as one.”

Griffin has also gotten far more aggressive in his approach to the game. His main contributions at St. Cloud have been as a running back, and that will continue this next season. But where Griffin stands to likely gain the most attention is as a cornerback, and he’s well aware that could be his ticket. He has 4.5-second speed in the 40-yard dash and he has the twitch needed to cover top receivers.

“That’s what I’ve been hearing,” Griffin said of his ability to be recruited as a defensive back. “I like corner. I feel really comfortable at the corner position. That’s why I’ve been going to camps as a DB. … That’s really what I’ve been focusing on.”

He’s certainly not married to any one position, however. Like most kids looking to play college football, Griffin just wants the opportunity.

“I can go in at whatever the coaches want me to,” Griffin said. “I feel like if I can do as much as I can, then that can help me get what I need.”

His accomplishments are not lost on him, but he’s not done.

“I’ve been working really hard. The bursitis really set me back last year,” Griffin said, “but I just keep going more and more day-by-day … I’ll just keep getting better. There’s more to work on.”

Boone linebacker Taj Jansen earns camp MVP

The only other player to join the ranks of MVP players at the Prep Red Zone Combine this past weekend was Boone linebacker Taj Jansen (6-1, 198). Jansen put on an impressive performance throughout the camp and impressed the camp officials so much they awarded him with the honor. He’ll be a key cog in the defensive middle for coach Andy Johnson’s Braves this next season. Jansen played just five games last season, so he’s looking to break out in his final year at Boone.

Transfer extravaganza

It’s the law of the land now. High school athletes can transfer to play wherever they want in this day and age of lawlessness, and the high school recruiting wars are at full tilt. Every coach points fingers, but they themselves have their own transfers coming in. So I fail to feel sorry for anyone, really. All I can do is try to keep up.

Some of the biggest impacts will be felt at The First Academy, which has more than 20 players transferring in. TFA’s top newcomers, so far, are offensive lineman Chancellor Barclay and Sean Kentish, and defensive lineman Jeau-Pierre Furtado, all from Lake Minneola; OL Gerard Gearity and LB Blaze Jones from Osceola; several Leesburg players such as WR Evan James, WR Demetrice McCray and QB Salomon Georges Jr.; and OL Reed Ramsier and LB Noah Maddox from Boone.

Edgewater will benefit greatly from the addition of three former Lake Nona standouts in OL Jaden Wilkerson, RB Josh Perry and QB Carter Emanuel from Lake Nona.

Seminole has several transfers, but most notably former Daytona Beach Mainland running back Khamani Robinson. Winter Park has added former Bishop Moore running back Gabe Diaz.

I know I’m leaving some out, but my head is spinning.

Chris Hays can be reached at