By Tyler Alley
Hopefully students did not pick Monday to avoid Fountain Mall. Anyone who did missed something that may not happen again at Baylor for a long time.
Heisman-winning quarterback Robert Griffin III returned to the Baylor campus. Electronic Arts Sports accompanied him to unveil Griffin on the cover of NCAA Football 13.
“It’s great,” Griffin said. “We could have done this at the Super Bowl, but we wanted to do it here at Baylor to kind of bring that attention back to Baylor, and you guys are here so we were successful. I’m happy about that.”
EA Sports set up a pavilion on the 5th Street-side of Fountain Mall displaying NCAA Football 13 banners and a rough, unofficial cover with Griffin on it.
“This is great for Baylor to have this photo shoot here and be on the cover of NCAA Football 13,” Griffin said. “It’s a great experience; only one person gets it every year and Baylor University gets that this year.”
Griffin will not be alone on the cover. This year, EA Sports will put a former Heisman Trophy winner alongside Griffin, and fans can vote for which players they want beside him at www.ea.com starting March 12.
“I mean all those guys are great,” Griffin said. “If it’s a quarterback, it’d be sweet, but Herschel Walker, Barry Sanders, Marcus Allen, all those guys that have done a lot more than I have. I’m excited to just be on the cover with them.”
Griffin spent most of Monday morning sitting on a stool in front of the camera doing interviews with various media outlets, including ESPN SportsCenter, Fox, ABC, and radio stations in San Francisco and Cleveland.
Athletic director Ian McCaw said having Griffin on the cover of a high-profile video game will help with recruitment and increase enrollment. “On the heels of the Sports Illustrated article and the New York Times article, along with the publicity of NCAA Football 13, it offers us a great period of national exposure,” McCaw said.
From 2 to 6 p.m., Griffin posed and threw passes for the camera, signed autographs for fans and threw passes to fans who correctly answered trivia questions, including Fort Worth freshman John Wheeler.
“It was an unbelievable experience,” Wheeler said, “especially the third pass where he just threw it as hard as he could. I thought I was about to die as the ball came, and somehow it ended up in my arms. It was a great catch, I think.”
This past weekend, Griffin participated at the 2012 NFL Scouting Combine, where players entering the draft compete in a wide variety of drills to showcase their raw talent to potential teams.
“It was great,” Griffin said. “If people are talking good about you and what you did at the combine, you did your job. Rather you guys be talking good about me than bad about me. I felt like I went there and did what I planned to do in the interviews and on the field.”
Griffin ran the 40-yard dash in 4.41 seconds, the fastest time for a quarterback since 2006, according to NFL.com.
Unofficial times clocked Griffin at 4.38 seconds. There was also some discrepancy surrounding Griffin’s height.
“People kind of underestimated my speed, thought I’d run a 4.5 something and I went 4.3,” Griffin said. “With my height, they thought I was 6 feet tall. I don’t know where that came from. I was 6-2 like I told them I would be.”
Griffin did not participate in any passing drills at the combine. He said he will throw at his March 21 Pro Day at Baylor.
Between now and then, Griffin said he will continue training in Arizona and hopes former teammates Kendall Wright and Terrance Ganaway will join him.
As for the draft, there is some buzz surrounding the second pick, currently owned by the St. Louis Rams, and how much different teams are willing to trade to move up to that spot.
“I’ve heard, but I don’t think it should be that much,” Griffin said. “A team shouldn’t have to throw multiple draft picks — as far as this year and next year — and a bunch of players at a team to get that pick.
I’d rather have those players to play with to make that team better.”