Signing Day: Evergreen’s Zyell Griffin completes the journey

Wide receiver plans to sign with UNLV

VANCOUVER — Zyell Griffin went 99 yards for a touchdown in Week 1 of his senior football season with the Evergreen Plainsmen.

A couple weeks later, he scored on another 99-yard touchdown.

He knows what it takes to go the distance. 

Zyell Griffin helped Evergreen to a win over Mountain View and a playoff berth in the fall. Now, he is expected to sign with the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Photo by Mike Schultz
Zyell Griffin helped Evergreen to a win over Mountain View and a playoff berth in the fall. Now, he is expected to sign with the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Photo by Mike Schultz

He also knows that it is never too late to take control of one’s own journey.

Griffin helped the Plainsmen to a winning regular season and a playoff berth. He helped himself, as a football player, gain attention from more and more colleges.

He also helped those colleges gain confidence in him as a student.

While Griffin was excelling on the football field, he also was getting it done in the classroom. He just finished a semester with five A’s and one B, the best marks of his academic career.

A speedy wide receiver, Zyell Griffin called himself a “late bloomer” in the recruiting process, but he has found a home at UNLV. Photo by Paul Valencia
A speedy wide receiver, Zyell Griffin called himself a “late bloomer” in the recruiting process, but he has found a home at UNLV. Photo by Paul Valencia

Evergreen coach Christian Swain said he is most proud of Griffin for that effort.

Combining those two things — a better football player, a better student — has led Griffin to Signing Day.

On Wednesday, Griffin is expected to sign his letter of intent to attend the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Feb. 5 is the second signing period for football players as well as many other sports. High schools throughout the country, including here in Clark County, are having signing ceremonies.

Among the bigger football signings today from the region: Peyton Brammer of Hockinson is expected to sign with Montana. Ahmani Williams of Skyview is planning to sign with Eastern Washington University. Tristan Souza of Camas is expected to attend Washington State. Meanwhile, Yaru Duvalko of Skyview waited until Wednesday morning to make his decision: He said he signed with Sacramento State. 

Griffin describes himself as a “late bloomer” in the recruiting process. He never figured on going to UNLV or being part of the Mountain West Conference. He expected to be closer to Vancouver. (His only other official visit was with Eastern Washington University.)

“I was really trying to stay home. But when I got down to Las Vegas, I said, ‘I know I’m going to be safe here.’ I felt good about it,” Griffin said. “This is home now.”

He said the coaches all have a “great vibe” and he could relate to them.

UNLV has invested millions into a new football complex on campus, which is under construction. Plus, the Rebels will soon be playing their home games at Allegiant Stadium, the new home of the NFL’s Raiders. 

Griffin went on an official visit to UNLV last month. He said he knew almost immediately. He told his parents, Latasha and Lester, “This is love, this is home.” The next night, he told new head coach Marcus Arroyo that he would become a Rebel. 

On Wednesday, Griffin will make his decision official.

“It’s going to mean the world. This is big,” Griffin said. “Not a lot of people in my family go to college. Being able to do this is really big for my family. I think my parents are going to be really proud.”

Griffin is a 6-1 wide receiver who was last timed in the 40-yard dash at 4.5 seconds, but he says he knows he can run it faster. He also claims, with a laugh, that his hair makes him 6-2. The long-term goal is a professional football career.

That would make for quite the journey from Evergreen.

He said he knew he was good when he was a starter on varsity after one week of his sophomore season. As a junior, he moved to wide receiver and got some of that “wide receiver swagger” to him. Then as a senior, he exceeded expectations on and off the field.

“I was dedicated to doing what I had to do to get to where I wanted to be,” Griffin said. “I’ve got to do it. I’m going to do it.”

(Note: Coaches, athletic directors, parents can email Paul Valencia at paul.v@clarkcountytoday.com with scholarship news.) 

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About The Author

Paul Valencia joins ClarkCountyToday.com after more than two decades of newspaper experience. He became the face of high school sports coverage in Clark County during his 17 years at The Columbian. Before moving to Vancouver, Paul worked at Oregon daily newspapers in Pendleton, Roseburg, and Salem. A graduate of David Douglas High School in Portland, Paul enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving three years as a soldier/journalist. He and his wife Jenny recently celebrated their 20th anniversary. They have a son who has a passion for karate and Minecraft. Paul’s hobbies include: Watching the Raiders play football, reading about the Raiders playing football, and waiting to watch and read about the Raiders playing football.

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