Everything in its Right Place: Griffith finds fit as key piece of Plano defense
Plano Senior junior David Griffith was well aware of the expectations placed upon him entering his second year with the Wildcats.
Already returning as part of a unit light on experience, Griffith carried the honor of being named the District 8-5A Defensive Newcomer of the Year during his sophomore season.
An award Griffith no doubt appreciated after being unsure of just where he'd fit with the Wildcats, living up to that mantra is top of mind.
"I won't lie, it put a bit more pressure on everything that I'm doing on the field this year," he said. "I'm trying to be way more consistent in how I play but mainly I'm just trying to help out the team and I know they've got my back if anything goes wrong."
Helming the middle of Plano's defense at linebacker, it took several years before Griffith finally managed to settle into his current role.
In fact, linebacker was pretty far from the equation while Griffith was coming up through the Plano feeder system. Spending his seventh and eighth grade years at Wilson Middle School, Griffith played both running back and defensive end for the Rams. That stint wouldn't last past middle school, with Griffith told he wasn't big enough to continue playing up front.
He still remained a two-way threat when brought up to play for Plano, although initially for his contributions on offense.
Defensively, he shifted to the secondary where he played safety.
Griffith would occupy the secondary until the early stages of his sophomore year before ultimately moving to linebacker.
"I was moved around like a pawn," Griffith said. "I played so many different positions early on. They kept moving me around until it actually fit."
The 6-foot-1, 185-pounder didn't, however, round out the equation by taking any reps at nose tackle.
"I did everything but play as a down lineman," Griffith said.
Nevertheless, Griffith appears to have found a home at linebacker.
"I think it's perfect for me," he said. "I'm in there and I can get physical with the offense, which I like to do, but at the same time I can back up and see the rest of the field and see what we're working with.
"It gives me a taste of everybody's world all at once."
Thus far, the dividends have proven worthwhile for the Wildcats. Six games into this season, Griffith has tallied 52 tackles -- 20 more than the next closest defender -- with eight tackles-for-loss, two quarterback pressures and two sacks.
Griffith has also made his presence felt on special teams, making plays on both punt and field goal attempts. Against McKinney, Griffith deflected a field goal attempt midway through the fourth quarter that sailed low and no good to help Plano preserve a 38-21 win. One week prior against Flower Mound Marcus, Griffith helped muster a late Wildcats rally by blocking a punt which he promptly returned 2 yards for a touchdown in an eventual 35-21 loss.
"Honestly, I can probably say that special teams is my favorite part of the game," Griffith said. "Every time I'm going against someone in special teams, I'm focusing on finding out how good they are, if he's really blocking me or just trying to chip me. If they're trying to chip me then maybe I can get one or two, so I just run in there and pray to God that I get one."
Recruiters have taken notice, with Griffith receiving an abundance of letters from Ole Miss, Washington State, Arkansas and Alabama with Oklahoma also on the radar.
Thus far, Griffith said he's visited Ole Miss.
Selecting a college is a decision the junior has said he's taking his time on, devoting all focus to a Plano team just getting its District 10-5A schedule under way. Griffith said holding McKinney to a season-low 21 points was an important step for the defense's progression.
Things get no easier Friday at 7:30 p.m. from Clark Stadium when Plano clashes with McKinney Boyd and, most notably, running back Bryan Driskell -- the area's second-leading rusher in Class 5A with 1,116 yards and 13 touchdowns.
"Bryan Driskell is a very good athlete," Griffith said. "He's a smart kid as well and knows what he's doing out there. That's why they give him the ball so much and we know it's going to be a big task, but we're preparing well for it."
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