South Florida vs Central Florida

The One-Handed Linebacker Taking the NFL by Storm

For Shaquem Griffin, "never" was not an option.

Chances are you hadn't heard the name Shaquem Griffin before the Seattle Seahawks selected him with the 141st pick in this year's NFL Draft. And you may not have believed it was possible for an amputee to make it to football's highest ranks. But the former UCF linebacker is coming to an NFL stadium near you — and his story is certain to amaze and inspire you.

SHINING THROUGH Alex Menendez/Getty Images SHINING THROUGH Born in St. Petersburg, Florida, Griffin was just four years old when the painful effects of a developmental condition led doctors to amputate his left hand below the wrist. Instead of despair came determination. 18 years later, his remarkable journey has taken him to the NFL. AGAINST ALL ODDS Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images AGAINST ALL ODDS That's his motto — and he's sticking to it. Griffin has turned doubters into believers at every stage of his life, and now he becomes the first one-handed player drafted into the NFL in the modern era. ON THE GUEST LIST Michael Hickey/Getty Images ON THE GUEST LIST 336 players were invited to the 2018 NFL Combine, an annual event giving NFL general managers a chance to evaluate and dissect college football's elite prospects — all who have the hopes of hearing their name called in April's NFL Draft. The biggest talents in the sport were in attendance, but few stood out more than Griffin, and not just because he's missing a left hand. HOW FAST-INATING! Michael Hickey/Getty Images HOW FAST-INATING! Griffin was a late invite, but he took very little time to make an impression. How little? Griffin clocked 4.38 seconds in the 40-yard dash — the fastest time for a linebacker in 15 years. He also put up 20 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press — nine more than he had ever done before. Oh, and he did it with a prosthetic hand. GOING VIRAL Michael Hickey/Getty Images GOING VIRAL The 22 year old may have entered the Combine relatively unknown outside of NFL media and hardcore fans, but his performance, and the massive buzz it brought to Twitter, changed all that. NO EXCUSES. PLAY LIKE A CHAMPION. Orlando Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images NO EXCUSES. PLAY LIKE A CHAMPION. "Nobody was ever going to tell me that I didn’t belong on a football field," Griffin wrote in a Player's Tribune feature. "And nobody was ever going to tell me that I couldn’t be great." TWINNING Icon Sportswire via Getty Images TWINNING Shaquem's twin brother, Shaquill Griffin, also played at UCF — the result of a pact the two made in middle school. Shaquill is only 60 seconds older, but graduated a year earlier and played in the Seahawks' secondary in 2017. REUNITED AND IT FEELS SO GOOD Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images REUNITED AND IT FEELS SO GOOD The Seattle Seahawks melted hearts across the NFL universe by giving the Griffin brothers a chance to once again play alongside each other. SECOND TO NONE Orlando Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images SECOND TO NONE UCF fans witnessed Griffin's winning mentality first-hand on many occasions, as the linebacker made the all-conference first team in both 2016 and 2017. A KNIGHT TO REMEMBER Icon Sportswire via Getty Images A KNIGHT TO REMEMBER While Griffin refused to accept limitations, UCF refused to lose. The Knights finished off an undefeated 13-0 season with a 34-27 victory over Auburn in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. LASTING IMPRESSION Streeter Lecka/Getty Images LASTING IMPRESSION Appropriately, Griffin was named the game's defensive MVP, with 12 tackles and 1.5 sacks in the final game of his remarkable college career. DON'T STOP BELIEVING Jeffery A. Salter/Sports Illustrated/Getty Images DON'T STOP BELIEVING Time will tell how Griffin performs in the NFL — but would you bet against him?