QB Spotlight – Hayden Griffitts: Why he is a ‘Can’t Miss’ Division 1 QB

Hayden Griffitts, West Orange HS c/o 2014, 6’3”, 223lbs

My first QB spotlight article is an easy write for me. Hayden Griffitts was my starter this season during my first year as the Offensive Coordinator at West Orange High School. For the past two seasons I’ve gotten the chance to watch him from across the field on multiple occasions during my time as OC at cross town rival Olympia High School. I was always impressed with his in game moxie and extreme competitiveness. He always seemed to make plays on film whether with his arm or feet and seemed to have a sound grasp on managing the game at the quarterback position. However, coming into a new school as part of a brand new staff, you never know what to expect from the group of kids you’re inheriting; especially from a QB that has had 4 different OC’s during his high school career. One of those OCs was actually fellow co-founder of Quarterback Nation Nick Hill. Nick coached Hayden at West Orange during his sophomore campaign and deserves a lot of credit for the foundation he laid for Hayden to become the QB he is today. After arriving at West Orange myself I quickly realized that I would have the opportunity to work with one of the most intelligent, talented, and successful quarterbacks I’ve ever had.

At a Glance – Physically he’s impressive looking for a high school QB. He’s just around 6’3” and got to be over 220lbs by the end of our season. He’s mechanically sound throwing the ball from the lefty position. Quick side note – Coaching a lefty QB was new for me, and took awhile to get used to. At first I found myself trying to tweak his throwing motion because something just didn’t look right. We really worked on tightening up his throwing circle and finishing with a strong “step-and-follow-thru.” After a couple minor changes were made I realized I just wasn’t used to seeing the ball come out from that side. The kid was accurate, had good feet, and I just needed to let it be. If it’s not broke don’t fix it. Hayden also has great “functional mobility.” He will not run a blazing 40 time (he’s a 4.8-4.9 kid), but when something breaks down he has plenty of athletic ability to get out of the pocket and gain yards when the opportunity presents itself. He also has above average arm strength to make all the throws necessary to play at the college level.


11 Games – 2489 yds, 63% completion, 34 TD’s/4 INT’s, 244 yds rushing, 2 TD’s

Central Florida All-Star Selection, Nike South Florida vs Florida All-Star Selection, Offense/Defense Diamond in the Rough All-American Game Selection. Also owns almost every single game and career passing record at West Orange HS.

*By far the most impressive stat for Hayden this season was his TD/INT ratio. He very rarely put the ball in jeopardy, and 2 of his 4 interceptions came from tipped passes from WR’s.

Overview – Hayden Griffitts is a winner first and foremost. He’s the type of player that coaches dream of having that will not only make the plays on the field, but also has all the intangibles needed to lead his teammates and make everyone around him better. I did not hold back one bit with my approach in coaching Hayden this year. I could tell from day 1 that he would be able to take everything I threw at him and I did just that. I demanded perfection from him in every aspect of quarterbacking, as every coach should. However, I would agree that not every player can be coached the same way – Each has their own personalities, strengths, and weaknesses. I believe it’s the coach’s job to figure out the best approach to get the most out of the kid they’re coaching and to make him the best player he can be. Hayden made this easy for me. His grasp of the offense from the start of spring ball in May was incredible. FBI as I call it – Football Intelligence, in an underrated attribute sometimes; especially for a quarterback. Yes there are plenty of kids that can chunk the ball a mile and run an impressive 40, but if he has no clue what a base cover 2 is and how to attack it than it turns into wasted ability. It’s no coincidence how Hayden was able to excel so quickly though. His learning curve is unbelievable and he owns a 3.4 GPA and a 27 on the ACT.

Projection – A sure fire Division 1 QB. Hayden has all the physical attributes needed – Size, arm strength, accuracy, and mobility. The intangibles he possesses are what I believe set him apart from the others. He led our team to a 9-1 regular season record and a playoff berth for the first time in 14 years. He also dominated his opponents by throwing for just under 2500 yds with 34 TD’s and only 4 INT’s at the highest level of high school football (8A) in the state of Florida. He currently holds ZERO scholarship offers, which baffles me. Wherever Hayden lands at the next level they will sure be lucky to have a quarterback of his caliber.

You decide, Here’s his Hudl link –



I’d like to lead with a couple important notes first. Disclaimer – By no means is writing a strong point of mine. I wasn’t too fond of English or Literature class in college and still wonder to this day how those term papers got me by. I’ve only written one piece in the past six year since I’ve been out of college and in that article I actually lead off with this same exact disclaimer. Go figure. However, as I begin my quest to become the next ‘Top Blogger,’ I’d like to add that recently I’ve found myself wanting to put my thoughts and ideas down on paper. I have to give credit to a good friend and former college teammate of mine Mike McCann. Mike is what you refer to as just a good dude. Someone I’ve always looked up to in many ways even though I’m his elder. He’s a ‘Type-A Guy,’ someone who has always excelled whether it was on the field for football, in the classroom, and now in the business world. He is the main reason I’m reading a lot more now and writing this blog itself. If you get the chance check out his blog site at www.PickaDirection.com. There’s a lot of great ideas and insight there that can help you with everyday life.

I’ll start by giving a brief bio of myself. My name is Collin Drafts. I’m 28 years old and come from the beautiful small town of Beaufort, South Carolina. I have a wonderful family that without a doubt shaped me throughout my life to become the person I am today, and the man I strive to be every day. Son of John and Pam Drafts, and brother to Trent Drafts. They are my rock. I also have a beautiful little girl now named Abigail Marie Drafts. Funny how some things come along in life that can completely transform ones’ outlook on the world. I admit it sounds cliché, but that’s exactly what my daughter has done for me. I’m a football junkie. It’s been a part of my life for 22 years now since I first started playing at the age of six. I was fortunate enough to somehow always have the football gods in my favor. I was an All-State selection at Battery Creek High School, and All-American at Charleston Southern, and went on to play in the Arena Football League for seven years. I was very fortunate to be surrounded with great teammates and coaches that greatly contributed to my success throughout my career. Playing QB was/is something I feel was ingrained in me from the first moment I put on that helmet. I now have moved on from my playing days into the world of coaching. It’s something I always feared and thought I would struggle with, because I always had identified myself as a football player, a quarterback. That’s just what I did. But now I enjoy the game even more. Being able to pass on the knowledge I learned to high school kids and have them light it up on Friday nights brings me far greater joy than playing on the 50 yard AFL field. It was fun while it lasted, but definitely time to move on. I am currently the Offensive Coordinator/QB Coach at West Orange HS in Winter Garden, Florida, just outside of Orlando.

In the next couple months my plan is to take on some topics that will benefit anyone who loves the game, and specifically playing Quarterback or offensive football in general. My intentions originally were to have my first article be on QB mechanics, but instead it’s turned into this. Hopefully this will spark your interest enough to return. Ideas I have in mind include but not limited to – QB mechanics, A QB’s pre/post snap thought process, Simplifying Offense/Play calling, and anything else I think could benefit others that relates to the game of Football. Thanks for tuning in and I look forward to putting my thoughts into this blog.

– Collin Drafts