On paper, the commitment of four-star cornerback Jordan Griffin looked like one that might not hold up.
Griffin committed to Kentucky just minutes after the Wildcats upset South Carolina on Oct. 4, 2014, at that time the high point of the Mark Stoops era and a victory that seemed like a possible turning point for the UK program.
That was nearly a year and a half before Griffin would be able to officially sign with the Cats. The Jonesboro, Ga., native was outside of UK’s recruiting base of Kentucky and Ohio. And the Cats went on to finish that season with six straight losses, then dropped six of their last seven games to end the 2015 campaign.
All the while, other major programs were free to come after Griffin with plenty of ammo in their negative recruiting pitches. Nevertheless, he signed with Kentucky on Wednesday.
Keeping him in the fold is one of the program’s biggest victories.
“He’s a long kid who can play corner,” said Rivals.com national analyst Mike Farrell. “A lot of 6-1 kids think they can play corner, but can’t. He’s got the hips for it. He’s very low on his backpedal. He’s very smooth — changes direction really well.”
Rivals.com ranks Griffin as the No. 191 overall player in the country — the Cats’ second-best behind Landon Young, according to that website — and Farrell said he could be a possible instant-impact player in nickel situations as a true freshman.
He has SEC size, and — even if he doesn’t pan out as a cornerback — he projects as a difference-maker.
“Worst-case scenario: Jordan Griffin turns out to be a free safety who I think will make a lot of plays,” Farrell said. “And when you get a kid that his worst-case scenario is going to be still an impact guy, that’s what you’re looking for in recruiting.”