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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Trey Griffey: The FOOTBALL player

Alex McIntyre
Arizona wide receiver Trey Griffey (5) runs with the ball after receiving a pass during the New Mexico Bowl in Albuquerque, New Mexico on Dec. 19, 2015. Griffey is expected to lead the Wildcats’ receiving core this season.

The challenges in life for Arizona wide receiver Trey Griffey began at birth when he was known as the son of Hall of Fame baseball player, Ken Griffey Jr.

Even when he arrived on campus as a wide-eyed freshman with hopes of blossoming into his own reputation, Griffey was still known as the son of the Hall of Fame outfielder, rather than a football player.

Griffey, on the other hand, couldn’t care less about the public perception.

“I just let other people think about that; I just go out there and do what I do,” Griffey said.

Easier said than done.

At the first day of fall camp, Griffey was persistently asked about the Seattle Mariners drafting him in the 24th round of the 2016 MLB Draft, and his experience growing up around a baseball diamond.

Griffey has done everything that he could to prepare for his final season at Arizona and show that he’s a leader, despite his minutes scattered over the years. Yet, he’s still answering questions about baseball.

He wears the number five, plays a different sport and plays in a state that has absolutely no Griffey ties other than playing the Arizona Diamondbacks every year.

What more can a kid do at a certain point in his life to prove that he’s a football player first and foremost, rather than a famous baseball player’s son?

According to receivers coach Tony Dews, Ken Griffey Jr. has done his best job to stay out of the picture and let his son shine on the gridiron.

“As a dad, he never talks football with me when he’s around. He’s just an everyday, average guy,” Dews said. “He’s not one of those dads that are all involved. He trusts the coaches and lets us do our job and encourages his son to keep doing what he’s doing.”

Dews also addressed the fact that Griffey continues to be hampered with baseball-related questions.

“He’s dealt with pressure growing up with his last name and I think his family has helped him grow and learn how to handle that,” Dews said. “And he does it as well as anyone I’ve seen who has a Hall of Fame dad.”

The circumstances of dealing with the family pressure would be different if Griffey came to Arizona to play baseball, but a different sport puts the bar lower so he can thrive under his own pressure.

Griffey honored the process for three seasons and was the understudy to Cayleb Jones and David Richards and has been the ideal player to coach according to Dews.

“Trey has been a solid contributor to this program since the day he got here,” Dews said. “You love to coach guys like Trey, because he tries to do everything you ask him to do, he works extremely hard at it and I can’t say enough good things about Trey.”

Griffey hasn’t been a part of game-changing plays or used as a major contributor for essential games. But if there is anything that he can hang his hat on, it is his playmaking ability.

Griffey didn’t see action until the last half of the season due to a foot injury, but he averaged 25.8 yards per catch and showed open field promise like having a 95-yard touchdown snag at ASU.

He is on the cusp of a breakout season in the sense that everyone on the coaching staff is holding their breath for him to reach fifth gear and prove that he’s capable of molding into a go-to receiver. The Wildcats will need him, especially in desperate times when they need crucial plays in late-game situations.

Dews also mentioned that Griffey is “even keeled” and could also rely on his confidence and composure in those tough situations.

“He’s just been a playmaker. He’s been Trey,” Dews said. “I don’t think anything phases Trey.”

The life of Trey Griffey started off known as the son of a legendary baseball player, which led to battling injuries and trying to squeeze into the deep receiver rotation creating his own brand. Griffey has one last shot in Tucson and the Wildcats have great expectations for his final season.

“It’s not just the Pac-12[Conference]. The Pac-12 Championship would be a step up, but we definitely want to win the national championship,” Griffey said.

If the Wildcats meet those expectations, and Griffey is a top option on offense, then maybe we can throw away the daddy’s son reputation and perceive him for his actual career—as a football player.

Follow Justin Spears on Twitter.

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