Griffin commits to Razorbacks
Beginning with the late Henry “Hank” Thompson, Monticello High School has has a long and storied affiliation with the University of Arkansas baseball program. Another chapter is about to open—in the spring of 2021, that is.
Nick Griffin verbally committed to play for the Razorbacks last Thursday. The 6-foot-2, 160-pound lefthanded pitcher/outfielder becomes the fourth member of the 2020 graduating class to pledge to Dave Van Horn’s Diamond Hogs.
“I was born and raised in Arkansas and it has always been a dream, since he first time I went to Baum Stadium, to be a Razorback,” the sophomore told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette after saying “yes” to Arkansas pitching coach Wes Johnson to Arkansas last week.
Of course, Griffin has three more years with the Billies to fine tune his skills—and Monticello head coach Trevor Durham couldn’t be happier. Griffin helped lead the Billies deeper into the state playoffs this spring than at anytime in recent memory—as a freshman.
Monticello advanced to the Class 4A state semifinals in Lonoke before getting tripped up by eventual state champion Nashville 4-3 on a controversial call. The Billies were just that close to Griffin’s first appearance on the Diamond Hogs’ home turf in Fayetteville.
“He’s a great young man who comes from a great family,” Durham praised. “He’s very talented but also puts in the work and has the attitude too maximize the talent that he has. I believe Arkansas is getting a good one, but I can’t wait to see the improvements that he makes in pitching and offensively while he’s wearing Billie Blue for the next three years before switching to Razorback Red.
“As a coach, I love seeing things like this because I love seeing good things happen to good people, and Nick is the latest in a long list of great kids that we’ve had in our program the last few years.”
According to the online Democrat-Gazette article announcing Griffin’s commitment, his fastball was clocked at 86 miles per hour this summer during a baseball camp. For his travel team, the Arkansas Sticks, Griffin also threw a curveball and a change-up.
“When he’s on, he spots it up as good as anyone in the state,” Sticks’ coach Chase Brewster told the Democrat-Gazette. “He’s got a lot of late life on the fastball. We think he’s going to a 90-mph arm that can locate with a good breaking ball.
“He grew up really fast as a freshman at Monticello and actually pitched the first and third rounds of the playoffs for them.”
PrepBaseballReport.com ranks Griffin, who also plays right field—and will have an opportunity to become a two-way player at Arkansas, as the sixth best high school sophomore in The Natural State. Griffin hit more than .400 this summer as a leadoff hitter for the Sticks.
Other non-binding verbal 2020 in-state commitments to Arkansas are righthanded pitcher Tyler Cacciatori from Sheridan and outfielder Clayton Gray from Cabot. Van Horn and his staff have also secured a 2020 commitment from infielder Heston Tole of Bowie, Texas.