COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Adam Griffin knows what it is like to follow in the footsteps of an icon. He has had to adjust to carrying around the weight of a famous name his entire life.
It is something you have to learn from and adapt to when you are the son of the only two-time Heisman Trophy winner, and perhaps the most revered Buckeye of them all, Archie Griffin.
"Probably my sophomore year in high school playing football, that's the first time it ever hit me," said Adam, a backup cornerback for 14th-ranked Ohio State.
Jamar Butler, a member of the Big Ten champion Buckeyes basketball team, came up to Adam that night — Adam's first as a starter — and said, "You're Archie Griffin's son!"
It was the first time he realized that his family and his father were different, that he would have to live up to a lot while living a normal life.
Archie never made a big deal out of his college and NFL exploits at home. He didn't even pressure Adam or his other two sons, Andre and Anthony, to play the sport — although he urged them to play a sport.
"The choice of what sport was theirs," said Archie, the president and CEO of Ohio State's massive alumni association. "I wanted them to play sports because of the wonderful lessons you learn, like getting up when you get knocked down, the teamwork, and all those other good attributes."
The boys played sports, all right. All the time. Around the house, in the neighborhood, in school.
None really had a problem living up to the responsibilities and expectations of being Archie's kids.
"I don't really think about it that much," Adam said. "I guess it's kind of the way I've always been. I even thought that way back in Little League."
It's apparent that Adam is comfortable being his father's son. He even welcomed the challenge of not just attending Ohio State, where his father became one of the greatest running backs, but also playing the same sport.
Adam grew up playing on star-studded AAU basketball teams that included former Ohio State star and current Boston Celtics forward Jared Sullinger. He was a standout football player at DeSales High School in Columbus, and ran track.
When it came time to pick a college, he approached then-Buckeyes football coach Jim Tressel about joining the team as a walk-on. A short time later, after two or three other top recruits didn't sign on the dotted line, Tressel offered Adam a full scholarship.
"Actually, we call him 'Young Arch,'" starting safety Christian Bryant said with a grin. "He came in our freshman year, and we didn't know what to expect. We just knew his dad was Archie Griffin. 'Arch' (Adam) has made great strides to become a better player. He made a lot of plays this offseason in the fall in camp. He's been moving forward."