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ELCA's Griffin glad he took visit to Air Force

Jeff Hurndon Photography / ELCA defensive back/wide receiver Marquis Griffin has committed to play football at the Air Force Academy.

Jeff Hurndon Photography / ELCA defensive back/wide receiver Marquis Griffin has committed to play football at the Air Force Academy.

McDONOUGH — Marquis Griffin hadn’t thought about taking a visit to the Air Force Academy.

Even though he had an offer from the Falcons since November.

Even though his family once lived in Colorado Springs when his father joined the service after high school and his mother worked at the campus bookstore.

Even though it was Division I football.

But after taking an official visit this weekend, Griffin thought it was the perfect place for him. The senior committed to Air Force before he returned home, choosing the Falcons over offers from Citadel, Charleston Southern, South Carolina State and Southern Illinois.

“My family and coaches wanted me to go out there and experience it,” Griffin said. “I went out, enjoyed the visit, I learned a lot of stuff I didn’t know.

“I was thinking about after-football things — guaranteed job, at least it seems like that, and on top of that it’s Division I football. ... I felt like I couldn’t pass it up.”

Griffin is the third commitment to Air Force from Georgia, joining Richmond Hill quarterback Dominique Allen and Trinity Christian running back Drew Gibson.

Griffin said Air Force recruited him at defensive back and kick and punt returner, but he did it all for ELCA. The 5-feet-11, 180-pounder emerged as a shut-down cornerback and a weapon on offense to help the Chargers win the Class A private school championship. He rushed for 423 yards and six touchdowns on 43 carries and had 22 tackles, five interceptions and three pass break-ups.

It was exactly the scenario Griffin envisioned when he transferred to ELCA. Griffin left Eagle’s Landing after three years where he was a starter on the school’s football and boys basketball teams. There he saw the full spectrum of struggle and success — the football team went 1-9, while he helped the basketball team reach the state semifinals for the second consecutive season.

Griffin said early on at ELCA he question whether he’d made the right decision.

But ELCA eventually won him over.

“Being at ELCA was like a whole different experience,” Griffin said. “The parents at ELCA, the whole community, they’re looking out for you. My coaching staff I can honestly say was the best coaching staff I’ve ever played for — rec, middle school, high school, ever.”