UCF linebacker Shaquem Griffin named AAC Defensive Player of the Year

Though Griffin plays with just one hand—his other was amputated when he was four years old—he led the AAC in sacks this season.
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Central Florida linebacker Shaquem Griffin has been named the AAC Defensive Player of the Year.

Despite having one of his hands amputated when he was four years old as a result of a rare congenital disorder, Griffin has excelled on the field this season. After seeing limited opportunities in 2015, the redshirt junior changed positions this year, moving from safety to outside linebacker, and still finished the season with the most sacks in the AAC (11.0) and the 10th most in the NCAA. He also averaged more than seven tackles per game, broke up six passes and collected his first career interception this year.

“I'm overwhelmed with emotions right now," Griffin said, according to the Orlando Sentinel. "I have to start off by saying thank you to the man upstairs, without him I wouldn't be the person I am today. Belief and faith take me a long way each and every day. I want to say thank you to the entire UCF program. I've been blessed to have everyone from the coaches to the players stand behind me and help make this season spectacular."

Griffin was also named to the All-AAC first team, and his twin brother, cornerback Shaquill Griffin, was named to the All-ACC second team.