“Making or missing a field goal is not a big deal. It’s not the end of the world. Growing up in an orphanage, not having family for you, it’s tougher.”
Adam Griffith arrived in Alabama to much fanfare in 2012 as the top-rated kicker recruit in his class, sporting what kicking guru Chris Sailer called “the strongest leg that I have ever seen at the high school level.” Originally from Poland, the world got to know Adam last year thanks to this tear-inducing ESPN piece about his tumultuous childhood growing up in an orphanage. Looking at Adam through that lens, it became impossible not to root for him.
Like so many other heralded Alabama recruits, Adam had to exercise patience early in his career. After taking a redshirt season, he was given a couple of opportunities in 2013 before infamously being asked to attempt the ill-fated 57-yarder on the Plains that will forever be known as the “Kick Six.” It was certainly a tough way for a player to start his career, even if he wasn’t to blame.
To Adam’s credit, he bounced back in fine fashion to open the 2014 season by drilling all four of his field goal attempts against West Virginia, including three from beyond 40 yards. Unfortunately, a back injury that went undisclosed at the time derailed the rest of the season as he converted only eight of his final 15 attempts.
It was an inverse tale for Adam in 2015, as he opened the season 0/4 before morphing into one of the top kickers in the country for the championship run. Over the last nine games of the season, Adam went 17/20 including 6/7 from beyond 40 yards. One of those kicks was particularly memorable:
That was an amazing kick that highlighted his NFL talent, but Adam wasn’t done making memories. He cemented his place in Alabama lore with an absolutely perfect onside kick in the fourth quarter of a tied national title game:
This was the very definition of clutch. It isn’t a stretch to say that Alabama would not be the reigning national champions today had that kick sailed out of bounds. No matter where Adam’s career takes him, that moment will undoubtedly be forever etched in his memory as well as those of so many Alabama fans.
Griffith had two successful onside kicks on the season, the first coming late in the Tide’s loss to Ole Miss. Kickoffs are often underrated by fans and have been a point of strength for Adam in general. Over the past two seasons he earned touchbacks on more than 50% of his deep kicks.
Counting his redshirt season, Adam will leave Alabama as a four-time SEC champion and will be the only player to have kicked a ball in each of the first three College Football Playoffs. He is a poster child for what college football is supposed to be: an opportunity for a talented young man to improve his life. After the playoffs he will take his shot at NFL riches, and has a degree in criminal justice to fall back on.
Congratulations on a successful career, Adam, and Roll Tide!