's late emergence last season leaves him primed to live up to his family name in 2014. (Rick Scuteri/AP)
Throughout the spring, Campus Union will look at some players to know heading into the 2014 season. First up: Arizona redshirt sophomore wide receiver Trey Griffey.
Yes, you know that name. Griffey. He is, in fact, the son of soon-to-be Hall of Fame outfielder Ken Griffey Jr. (Trey -- get it?) And even though legend has it that the Seattle Mariners mailed Trey a contract not long after he was born (it was post-dated for 2012), Trey went another route and opted to play football. He was a three-star recruit in the class of '12, according to Rivals.com, and joined coach Rich Rodriguez at Arizona over offers from Michigan State, Iowa State and Washington State, among others.
At 6-foot-3 and 191 pounds, the younger Griffey is almost exactly the same size as his dad was during his playing days. Trey's lanky build and athleticism make him a natural fit at wide receiver, and he found he had more passion for football than for baseball.
From Mitch Sherman of ESPN.com in 2012:
"He tells us that as long as we're having fun, he's happy," Trey said. "It doesn't matter what sport you play, as long as you love it. Because if you don't love it, what's the point of playing?"
And here's what Trey Griffey realized: He loves football.
"Baseball will always be in my genes," Trey said. "I'll always know a lot about it because of my father and grandfather. But I don't really have the love for it that I do for football."
After playing in the Under Armour All-America Game, Griffey redshirted in 2012. Given the speed at which Rodriguez's offense operates, the redshirt season allowed Griffey to "slow down" and get "better at understanding the plays and recognizing defenses." It happens with plenty of elite athletes moving to the college ranks; they become so accustomed to being bigger, faster and stronger than high school competition that they aren't skilled at running crisp patterns, or making accurate reads.
During the 2013 season, Griffey was used sparingly early. He played on the special teams unit and didn't record a catch through the first nine games. But he came on late in the year by averaging 3.5 catches and and 42.5 receiving yards in Arizona's final four contests. In the Advocare V100 Bowl against Boston College, he made two highlight-reel touchdown grabs in front of his dad (who was taking pictures) and grandfather.
Here is the first of those touchdowns:
It's often hard to gauge whether bowl game performances are truly indicative of future success, but if Ken Griffey Jr.'s favorite baseball player today is Andrew McCutchen, odds are high that his favorite football player right now is Trey.
At the very least, we know the impact The Kid had on Trey's life. (Fast forward to the 26:42 mark in the below clip.)
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