TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- From his seat in Bryant-Denny Stadium on an early November night, Adam Griffith saw the perils of college football kicking.
He was on a visit the day Crimson Tide specialists missed four of six kicks in the 9-6 overtime loss to LSU.
“I think for the first time there, he felt the pressure of being a college kicker,” said Hal Lamb, Griffith’s high school coach.
As the nation’s No. 1 high school kicker, according to two recruiting services, the Calhoun (Ga.) High School senior faced his share of tense moments. That and his character, Lamb said, should help his transition to college.
Griffith is committed to sign as part of Alabama’s top-ranked recruiting class Wednesday. Less than two months earlier, the weight of a state championship landed on the shoulders of the Polish-born kicker.
Foreshadowing Jeremy Shelley’s five-kick BCS national title game performance, Griffith nailed four in the Class AA championship game Dec. 9. His 32-yarder in overtime beat Buford, led by fellow Alabama commitment Dillon Lee, 27-24 after making a 46-yard kick earlier in the game.
Lamb said Griffith was true from as deep as 52 yards in the undefeated run to the Georgia Dome.
“I wouldn’t hesitate to put him out there 55 or less,” Lamb said. “It didn’t matter what the conditions were. He’s a special talent. That’s for sure.”
Scott Kennedy, the director of scouting for Scout.com, saw Griffith’s big day in the state title game.
“He hit one from about 40 yards out that would have been about 65 dead down the middle,” Kennedy said. “In a state championship in the biggest level he could possibly be, he has made a big kick.”
A video posted on YouTube shows Griffith connecting on a 60-yard kick in practice. The deep drive stayed just inside the left upright.
He was also a weapon teeing it up on kickoffs.
Lamb said 82 percent of those attempts were touchbacks, and another video posted online shows several kicks landing beyond the end zone.
“Not only does he kick it far, but he kicks the ball high,” Lamb said. “I think that’s what (Alabama coach Nick) Saban likes. He likes height on the ball so he can get down and cover. He gets the ball high on extra points and field goals as well.”
Translating that ability to the next level can be tricky, though.
“Unless you can get in their heads somehow, you can’t judge a kicker,” Kennedy said. “I can go find 500 kids who can kick a 50-yard field goal, but that doesn’t mean they’re great kickers when it counts.”
Making that game-winner in the state final still means something, he said.
“While doing it in the SEC under the lights isn’t exactly the same, it’s all relative,” Kennedy said.
“It’s the biggest moment in his life, and he rose to the occasion.”