USC cornerback Olaijah Griffin is taking his talents to the next level.
The junior corner announced on Instagram early Friday morning that he is declaring for the NFL Draft. Griffin waited until just after midnight to make the announcement, which he said was in honor of his grandmother’s birthday.
“Please know that I put a lot of thought and consideration into this decision, and I came to the conclusion that this is the best choice to help further pursue my ultimate dream of playing in the NFL,” Griffin said in a statement, thanking head coach Clay Helton, positions coach Donte Williams and his teammates. “It was a great [three] seasons, and I will always be a Trojan.”
Griffin was named to the Pac-12 honorable mention after a junior season in which he had one interception and four pass breakups in six games.
It was the first year in which Griffin did not deal with an injury issues. As a freshman out of Mission Viejo, Griffin missed four games due to an injury that required off-season surgery on both shoulders. And as a sophomore, Griffin was plagued by back issues.
But healthy as a junior, Griffin was a reliable presence for USC in pass coverage to earn conference honorable mention for the second time.
Griffin is the third Trojan to leave early for the NFL Draft this winter, and the second member of USC’s starting secondary. Safety Talanoa Hufanga declared for the draft on Wednesday, leaving USC with a couple of tough holes to fill ahead of the 2021 season.
But in 2019, USC utilized a three-corner system, with Griffin, Chris Steele and Isaac Taylor-Stuart sharing snaps. Taylor-Stuart required knee surgery after an injury suffered in USC’s bowl game following last season, and spent 2020 in more of a reserve role as he recovered. So Taylor-Stuart could step into Griffin’s starting job in 2021.
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