Dandy Dozen: Mississippi State recruit has speed, versatility and new perspective

Meet the 11th member of the Clarion Ledger's 2019 Dandy Dozen

Anthony McDougle
Mississippi Clarion Ledger

Lideatrick Griffin threw his helmet in frustration after Philadelphia's 33-28 loss to Neshoba Central dropped his team to 0-2 during his junior season.

Soon after the defeat, his mother received a message from the mother of a young fan. Aubrey Hudson, a 7-year-old, saw the game and wanted to lift his spirits with a picture she had drawn of him.

“That got to me,” he said. “I’ve still got it on my wall at home."

The gesture fulfilled its intended purpose and then some. It forced him to realize that even if he doesn’t know it, a fan, a recruit, a teammate or a coach could always be watching.

The epiphany from an unlikely source kickstarted his journey of improving his attitude. He wanted to be a leader on his team, and he realized that attitude reflects leadership.

Lideatrick Griffin, an athlete from Philadelphia High School.

It’s never really been a question of talent for Griffin. Speed, agility and versatility have always been in his toolbox. 

The four-star recruit is coming off a season in which he racked up 1,436 all-purpose yards and eight touchdowns, but he still gets questions from college coaches about his attitude.

All it took was a bit of trash talk or an unfortunate turn of events against his team to set him off. The spotlight of being ranked as one of the top five players in his class in the state of Mississippi only made players more eager to challenge him.

“Kids started inboxing him, talking negative to him and saying what they were going to do to him on the field,” his mother, Uneatrice Griffin, said. “When they saw he had a bad attitude, they (started) to get in his face at games, talk about him or do whatever to get him penalized.”

Philadelphia head coach David Frey, who has been around Griffin since he was in the eighth grade, believes Griffin's attitude is reformed. The coach said he has noticed the rising senior's efforts to become a better leader.

“(It’s) a lot better,” Frey said. “He kind of kept to himself a lot when he was younger. He’s opened (up) a lot more with everybody. Last year was tough on him. He was a junior and everybody looks up to him. (Now) he’s taken that role on really well.”

With expectations higher than ever for Griffin, those who question his reformation and ability may also be louder than ever.

If the older, wiser version of Griffin has anything to say about it, they won’t hear a peep in return.

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