Ben Griffiths signs with USC Football on Early Signing Day 2019


Former Australian rules football player Ben Griffiths signed and sent in his LOI to join USC football as a punter on Early Signing Day 2019.

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USC football is losing two scholarship punters to graduation this spring, but the Trojans have officially found a replacement in Ben Griffiths.

Griffiths actually got Signing Day started earlier than usual. Living in Melbourne, Australia, he apparently sent in his LOI around midday on Tuesday, when it was already December 19th on the other side of the globe.

However, the Trojans waited until Friday evening to officially confirm Griffiths’ signature, putting him on the path to be the second-ever USC letterman from Australia.

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The Skinny

Griffiths retired from the Australian Football League at the start of 2018, once he was offered a scholarship by the Trojans.

The 27-year-old played eight years in the AFL, but had his career limited by multiple concussions. The realities of those injuries set his sights on life beyond the AFL and he jumped at the opportunity to receive a top-class education in the states via a football scholarship.

“I realized that, at the end of the day, footy is a game and you can’t compromise your long-term health pursuing it,” he told The Players Voice this fall. “I thought more about getting an education and how the opportunity to study would set me up for the long-term.”

In that sense, he is very much a student-athlete.

Where He Fits in 2019

The Trojans lose starter Reid Budrovich and back up Chris Tilbey to graduation, so Griffiths figures to take over as a starter straight away.

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Of course, that would have been the plan when fellow Aussie Tilbey took on a scholarship, but he ended up losing his starting job to the walk-on Budrovich.

This time around, any threat from a walk-on will come from a new face. The only walk-on punter on the 2018 roster was James Bermingham Jr. and he too is graduating in the spring.

Griffiths reminds us of…Mitch Wishnowsky

Why not? They are both Australian, both products of Australia’s Prokick academy and both tall. Granted, at 6-foot-7, Griffiths is a few inches taller than the 6-foot-4 Ray Guy Award winner. Also, there is no guarantee he will come even slightly close to Wishnowsky’s talents.

But Trojan fans can dream.