Nelson linebacker getting first taste of the big time

Posted Monday, Jul. 29, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Ron McGriff is an all-around utility man for Byron Nelson athletics.

McGriff competes in long jump, 4x100 and 4x200 relays for the Nelson track team.

For the football team, he has spent a good portion of his career rushing the quarterback with his hand on the ground at defensive end.

Last season, McGriff earned his keep on special teams, only to move into a starting spot his senior year.

In store for the 2013-2014 season is another move, this time to inside linebacker.

McGriff’s first responsibility will be a technique he knows all too well, rushing the quarterback. However, he has spent the summer working on his pass-covering abilities and stopping the rush.

He said several of the maneuvers he’s used over the years at defensive end will come in handy at linebacker this season, such as “rushing the line and whenever I get in there, using my hands,” he said.

The biggest challenge to McGriff’s new role, he said, is being the quarterback for the defense at middle linebacker. At first, taking the signals from the sideline and relaying them to his teammates felt very strange, but he said that changed with experience.

“It’s starting to grow on me to actually lead the team and our defense,” he said.

McGriff hopes he can be a catalyst for a great season this year, as he left his junior season wanting more from himself and his team.

“I think we could have done a lot better than we did but we did alright,” McGriff said. “I wasn’t satisfied with where we finished.”

Nelson failed to make the playoffs, despite finishing the 2012 season with a 7-3 record, 4-3 in District 5-4A play.

He said, on the defensive side of the ball, seven new starters will fill the ranks with something to prove, which will push that phase of Nelson’s game to another level.

In the mean time, McGriff has toured the country, participating in college camps to get his name out there before he sees his first major playing time this season.

He stayed close to home with camps at TCU and SMU, but also hopped over to California to showcase his talents at USC as well.

Out of the three, McGriff said he really enjoyed his time at SMU because of the chemistry he felt with the coaching staff.

However, at 6-foot, 179-pounds, McGriff is suited to play safety more than linebacker at the next level, yet another position to add to McGriff’s repertoire.

Just as he’s taken an assortment of position changes in stride, McGriff has high hopes he can be successful in whatever he and his team does this year.

“I’m looking to take our team to the playoffs and help them as best I can,” McGriff said. “I’m going to do whatever I can to make the team better and I’m hoping to get first team all-district.”

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