MOBILE, Ala. — The Reese's Senior Bowl has announced that linebacker Shaquem Griffin out of Central Florida was named Practice Player of the Week.
Griffin and top prospects from across the country participated in three days of practices and will play in the 69th Senior Bowl at 1:30 p.m. (CT) Saturday on NFL Network.
Griffin is the younger twin brother of former Central Florida teammate Shaquill Griffin, who just completed his rookie season with the Seattle Seahawks.
There's one big difference, however, between the brothers. Shaquem was born with amniotic band syndrome affecting his left hand and causing his fingers to not fully develop. Shaquem's parents had his hand amputated when he was 4.
"I think he's the most-inspiring prospect, the most-inspiring player that this game has ever had," Senior Bowl Executive Director Phil Savage said in a video on seniorbowl.com. "The linebacker/defensive end/safety from Central Florida, he came in here with a lot to prove, trying to become the first player in the history of professional football to play at the NFL level with only one hand.
"By the end of the three days, he had a sack, a pressure in the two-minute drill," Savage added. "You just think of him as a football player and somebody you better block, or he's going to go find the football and make a play."
Savage said he hopes that Shaquem receives an invite to the NFL Scouting Combine next month.
Other practice award winners were as follows:
Quarterback: Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
Running back: Akrum Wadley, Iowa
Tight End/Receiver: James Washington, Oklahoma St.
Offensive Lineman: Isaiah Wynn, Georgia
Defensive Lineman: Justin Jones, NC State
Linebacker: Kemoko Turay, Rutgers
Defensive Back: M.J. Stewart, North Carolina
Special Teams: Daniel Carlson, Auburn
Savage on Mayfield:
"He was the man that came in on his magic carpet. Baker Mayfield arrived on Tuesday, and he really was terrific in the practices. His ball placement, the fact he just stepped on the field, he's got an instinctive nature about his style of play. He's got quick feet, quick eyes and a quick arm. The ball comes out, he was accurate and overall, really put together the most consistency over three days."
Savage on Wadley:
"[He] was the standout in that group. He's got quickness out of the backfield. He's very versatile, in terms of as a receiver and also a kick returner. He came in with a bit of a wrist injury, fought through it and completed the week."
Savage on Wynn:
"He played left tackle for Georgia, but he's only 6-foot-2, so everyone knew throughout the fall we need to see him at the Reese's Senior Bowl slide down to guard. He took to it like a duck to water. He was terrific.
"In my experiences in the NFL, we did this when I was with the Ravens and Browns, you take an outside blocker and move him inside, if they have the girth, quickness and power, they can survive in there. Isaiah Wynn is going to be a long-time starter in there at guard."
Savage on Jones:
"I use the word 'consistency,' but from the beginning on Tuesday to [Thursday], he stood out."
Savage on Turay:
"He wins the award for the best-looking physique out here, but he did some things out in space and as a rusher that were very impressive to people. I polled a number of NFL scouts that go into the selection process, and every one of them said he helped himself here this week."
Savage on Stewart:
"I saw him Sunday and said, 'It's a huge week for you, because oftentimes if you're on a team that doesn't win very much, they discount you a little bit. Now you're here as a standalone entity, go show up,' and he did in a big way. Excellent man-to-man cover guy inside and outside."