Gateway: Sports

Peninsula High QB Griffin goes long.... to the University of New Hampshire

Peninsula’s Burke Griffin (5) passes in the fourth quarter. Peninsula High School played Timberline High School in a football game at Roy Anderson Field in Purdy, Wash., on Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018.
Peninsula’s Burke Griffin (5) passes in the fourth quarter. Peninsula High School played Timberline High School in a football game at Roy Anderson Field in Purdy, Wash., on Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018. joshua.bessex@gateline.com

Peninsula High School’s three-year starting quarterback Burke Griffin is headed to the east coast. The senior announced his commitment on Twitter in late January to play football for the University of New Hampshire.

Griffin originally connected with New Hampshire while he was on a tour of Ivy League programs. The coaching staff at UNH put him through some workouts and throwing drills on a scorching-hot July day. Griffin also posted a 40-inch vertical that day.

“It was pretty fun with the coaching staff there,” Griffin said. “There’s probably not too many programs where the head coach is out there catching passes. It reminds me a lot of (Peninsula coach Ross) Filkins.”

The commitment to competition is something Griffin saw as a similarity between the two programs.

“You earn everything,” he said. “They’re all about competing, all about hard work. I know it’s going to be tough coming in as a freshman again but I’m excited for that challenge. Feels like a similar challenge. It’s been a great football program for a long time.”

The school, located in Durham, New Hampshire, competes in the Football Championship Subdivision and is a member of the Colonial Athletic Association. For Griffin, there have been some questions about what might be his best position at the college level. While he played quarterback in high school, his speed and athleticism could suit him well as a slot receiver or cornerback.

But for now, Griffin is going into UNH as a quarterback. After a likely redshirt year — he’s recovering from a broken left leg he suffered in the Seahawks’ quarterfinal loss to O’Dea — he is eager to fight for the starting job.

“I think for me, I’m a football player, first and foremost,” Griffin said. “If I’m at QB, that’s great. If I’m not, that’s OK. I think I can play QB in college. I think it could end up being a great fit for me. I wanted to have the chance to at least compete at quarterback and give that my best shot. If I’m not the starting QB, they’ll try to use me in other ways on the field.”

Griffin was a true dual-threat quarterback at Peninsula, especially during his senior season, in which he led Peninsula in passing (110 of 172, 1,526 yards) and rushing (149 carries, 1,203 yards) and scored 24 total touchdowns.

“I think they’re excited for the speed and athleticism I can bring to the QB position,” Griffin said. “They just like the fact that I always compete.”

Griffin said he plans to study business and take advantage of UNH’s one-year MBA program after his undergraduate studies. After starring at Peninsula for the past three years, Griffin said he’s ready for the next challenge.

“I just want to take everything I’ve learned with me,” Griffin said. “It’s a completely different game in college. Everyone is bigger, faster and stronger. Just that Purdy grit is what I’ll carry with me. It’s been hard wired into me. Keep fighting no matter what. Competition is what we live for. I’m just thankful to the whole Gig Harbor and Peninsula community for all the support and fun over the years.”

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