While at Auburn High, quarterback Griffin Speaks made a habit of excelling on and off the field. With one year now under his belt at Baylor, Speaks has proven that to also be the case in college.
Speaks was named to the Academic All-Big 12 Rookie Team last week as one of 10 Baylor football players selected. The list honors conference competitors who are new, incoming freshmen nominated by each institution's director of student-athlete support services, completed 24 semester hours of non-remedial coursework and achieved a cumulative GPA of at least 3.00.
“It feels really good because people usually don’t see the hard work student-athletes put in behind the scenes in regards to academics, Speaks said. “Getting recognized for my academic achievement feels really good.”
Speaks walked on at Baylor and did not see any game action in his true freshman season. Despite that, he had an unforgettable experience as part of a Bears’ squad that won 11 games and played in the Sugar Bowl for the first time in 53 years.
For Speaks, the season was nothing short of incredible.
“(It was) everything I hoped for and more,” Speaks said about his freshman season. “My favorite moment would have to be getting to experience a week in New Orleans while preparing for the Sugar Bowl. I’ve grown up watching the Sugar Bowl, and having the opportunity to practice in the Saints’ facility and meet some of their players was awesome.”
Speaks came to Baylor as a walk-on quarterback before moving to safety during fall camp. He had originally planned to also play baseball for the Bears, but this spring he decided to stick with football after Baylor football brought in new head coach Dave Aranda.
Speaks arrived in Waco after a strong senior year at Auburn. After playing defensive back for the Tigers, he stepped in at quarterback in 2018 and was a driving force offensively for the 10-win Tigers. He threw for 1,161 yards and 16 touchdowns and also rushed for 305 yards and three touchdowns in a Tigers offense that averaged just under 28.9 points per game.
Speaks was no slouch on the baseball diamond, either, hitting .247 with 21 hits, five doubles, one home run and 13 RBIs as a senior for the Tigers.
Speaks thanked his many coaches at Auburn as well as his teachers for preparing him for what he has since encountered at Baylor.
“I think Auburn High did a tremendous job preparing me,” Speaks said. “The teachers and coaches along with the endless resources we have made this transition from high school to college a lot easier.”
With his concentration set solely on football, Speaks said his main objective this offseason has been getting as big as he could without losing his speed or elusiveness as a result. There’s still about two months before the scheduled start of the year, and Speaks said he’s eager for that day to finally arrive.