Sentell’s Intel is all about sharing key Georgia football recruiting info. This rep has the latest with 5-star DT Elijah Griffin. He ranks as the nation’s No.1 DT and the No. 2 overall prospect for 2025 on both the 247Sports Composite and The On3 Industry Ranking.

Elijah Griffin is looking for a place that makes him feel like he’s at Olive Garden.

We’ve never written that before and probably never will. But the more every big-time program in the country feels as cozy as an Olive Garden, the better off their chances at signing the 5-star will be.

The 6-foot-5-plus, 280-pound junior from Savannah is a fan of the comfort Italian chain.

“The man is in love with Olive Garden,” Savannah Christian head coach Baker Woodward said. “That’s his favorite. Out of all the restaurants in the whole world, his favorite restaurant by far is Olive Garden.”

There are not a lot of ways Griffin can still feel like a regular kid. That’s one of them. He can get his unlimited soups and salads worth of high school life at that place.

When one meets him for the first time, he comes across as a 10 out of 10 in the character and focus areas.

He’s got great traits and film, but what sets him apart is the way he already sounds wired for the rigors of big-time college football.

This young man cares as much about rankings as he does paying for extra breadsticks.

“Honestly, I could care less,” he told DawgNation. “I just do me. It is a blessing for people who think as highly of me as that. I continue to hold myself to a high standard because people are going to hold me to that high standard. I was raised that way. I have got to do stuff differently compared to everybody else.”

Griffin was supposed to be in Athens this past weekend, but will now visit UGA for the South Carolina game on September 16. That’s a meeting between two schools that have really impressed him up to this point.

He will then see another major tussle later this month when Clemson hosts Florida State on September 23.

What is he looking for in the ideal school?

“Honesty I want to come in as early as a freshman and make an impact early,” Griffin said. “I feel like wherever I go I will make an impact in my opinion. But I just want to come in early and make an impact and [show] the coaches why I am here.”

5-star DT Elijah Griffin ranks as the nation's No. 2 overall prospect for 2025 for the 247Sports Composite ratings and the On3 Industry Ranking. (Jeff Sentell/ DawgNation) (Jeff Sentell/Dawgnation)

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How does Elijah Griffin feel about Georgia football?

The ‘Dawgs have made the right impression on Griffin.

“Georgia is a great school and I’ve got a great relationship with coach [Tray] Scott,” Griffin said. “The defensive line coach. Coach Kirby [Smart]. Great guys. Love them to death. Every time I go up there it feels like home. My family and I all have a blast.”

He camped in Athens this summer and didn’t lose a rep in his 1-on-1 sessions. Griffin was dominant.

The rising senior was even the only defensive lineman to hand 5-star junior OT commit Micah Debose a loss during his camp work in Athens. Debose opened up against him instead of staying square in their one rep against one another. When Debose did that, he couldn’t recover fast enough to deny Griffin.

The Vigor (Ala.) star got to his hip, but his quarterback likely would have gotten swallowed up if that rep was in an actual game. Unless the QB stepped up into the pocket quickly.

“He is very good,” Debose said this summer. “He and I were competing together the whole camp. They had me and him together.”

Debose would welcome the chance to play with Griffin in college.

“He can definitely make me better,” Debose said. “He can make the whole offensive line at Georgia better. He’s a good player. He’s a great player.”

The 5-star tackle even felt that Griffin’s technique and fundamentals made him a candidate to even potentially play college football right now. The only thing he felt he needed would be more development in the weight room. Griffin just needs to get stronger to be ready for the SEC.

That’s a valid assessment for a talented young player who still has two more seasons of Friday nights before he gets to college.

“Some of those offensive linemen out there in college weight 310 pounds and can bench 500,” Debose said.

Griffin has two things that he likes the most about Athens and the chance to play for UGA.

“I would say the atmosphere and you know they have the No. 1 finance and business management program,” Griffin said. “That’s something I kind of want to look to as I go on with my football career.”

“Once that comes to an end, you always have got to have something to fall back on.”

When he sees the ‘Dawgs face Carolina later this month, he will be very intrigued. He loves both schools. He said he might be cheering for both schools.

5-star DT Elijah Griffin ranks as the nation's No. 2 overall prospect for 2025 for the 247Sports Composite ratings and the On3 Industry Ranking. (Jeff Sentell/ DawgNation) (Jeff Sentell/Dawgnation)

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The things that really stand out about Elijah Griffin

Savannah Christian coach Baker Woodward gets it. When his team lost to Marist last Friday night, he made no excuses. The hurricane worries of last week meant his team couldn’t practice on Wednesday or Thursday of last week.

Getting just two days of practice to get ready for the triple-option at Marist is a tough ask. The team bus even broke down on the way to their game last week. Woodward did not even bring those things up.

When his Raiders fell 21-7 on the road in Atlanta last Friday night, he made no excuses. He vowed that his team would learn from it. They’d get better and play better for it.

They’ll fix what needs to be fixed in order to make sure those low points are learning curves.

It was the sort of speech “Coach Taylor” from the hit show “Friday Night Lights” might say. Just imagine Taylor coach with a beard. That was Woodward delivering the postgame speech last week.

The Savannah Christian coach is especially proud of the example Griffin sets.

“He’s like a model Raider,” Woodward said. “Every question you have, and I bet you have interviewed him by now, is a ‘yes sir’ or a ‘no sir’ and he gets it done in the classroom. But what’s so special about him is you have a guy that’s 6-foot-5 and 280 pounds and he moves and is as agile as a skill player. That makes him really special on top of the kind of kid he is, too.”

“He leaves from practice and goes to a personal trainer. He then goes home and does his homework and some college is going to be really lucky to have him. He’s got his pick of wherever he wants to go anyway.”

Griffin has been at Savannah Christian since he was in sixth grade.

“The funny story was when he was probably in sixth grade and everyone’s like ‘Who’s that adult man walking with the sixth graders?’ because he looks like he’s old enough to be their father it looks like but he’s just a big ol’ dude.”

Griffin is a dialed-in 5-star prospect. Truly. He’s got the right circle of folks around him.

“I want to see him get a good education,” his uncle Lamont Griffin said. “That’s what I am focused on. I don’t care nothing about anything else.”

What does his uncle think makes him go?

“I would say his internal fortitude to win,” his uncle Lamont Griffin said.

Griffin said family helps him when times get rough. That starts with a loved one he lost while his high school career was getting started.

“My grandfather,” Griffin said when describing Ulysses Griffin. “He actually passed away like three years ago. He actually pushed me to be the best that I could be. Then my grandmother and my Mom. Every day they are hard on me. They make sure that because I am Elljah Griffin I have to do things that people wouldn’t do. I have to be unusual.”

That’s caused him to grow up fast, he said.

“I can’t be a regular 16-year-old,” he said. “Because I am not a regular 16-year-old.”

That means strict limits on the parties and active social lives his peers might enjoy. Griffin is usually on college visits every weekend. He’s going to school and then practicing after school during the week.

Then he goes to a personal trainer. When he gets home, he’s working on his studies.

“I like parties obviously,” he said. “But a lot of kids my age they don’t understand where I want to go. ... I have to push myself. I have tunnel vision. I have to stay focused on my goals.”

His uncle is one of those motivators. He’s always telling Griffin he has to stay focused.

“No matter what,” Griffin said. “In the classroom. On the field. Off the field. It doesn’t matter. Stay focused. Put your best foot forward.”

Check out his sophomore film below.


(check on the recent reads on Georgia football recruiting)