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Matt Stewart of the Fitchburg Sentinel & Enterprise has a piece on several Central Massachusetts locals who have played roles in the winning tradition of UMass football. Those players include Dave Palazzi, Jonathan Hernandez, John Griffin, Cliff Bolden, Matt Dawson, Jamie Holston, and Dan Schneider.

Training Camp News On Minutemen In The NFL

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Several stories today on Minutemen around the NFL.

  • Arrowhead Pride predicts Jeremy Horne to be among the top-five receivers for the Kansas City Chiefs this season.
  • Jeromy Miles is in the hunt for one of five safety positions according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.
  • John Griffin is the 16th photo in a slide show from Bengals Training Camp. He is also shown in the 20th photo.
  • According to the Jets Insider, Vladimir Ducasse will be switched to tackle this year after getting most of his reps at guard last season. That is reflected in a preseason depth chart on New York Sports Today which lists Ducasse as the No. 2 left tackle.

Jeff Thomas of the Springfield Republican touches on a variety of UMass football topics in today's edition. He covers John Griffin catching his coach's eye at Bengals training camp, James Ihedigbo reported nearing a deal with the Jets, Chris Koepplin at Patriots camp, and tickets going on sale for the Colonial Clash on Oct. 22 at Gillette Stadium.

Griffin Impresses Cincy Coach

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Cincinnati Bengals Quarterback Andy Dalton (14) Hands

Former UMass running back John Griffin, who was signed last week as an undrafted free agent by the Cincinnati Bengals, has taken advantage of his early opportunities at training camp. According to, he has gotten the attention of Head Coach Marvin Lewis.


"(Williams and Griffin) both guys caught my eye in what they were doing," Lewis said.

Griffin Passes Physical, Signs With Cincy

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Former UMass running back John Griffin was in Cincinnati yesterday, passed his physical and was signed by the Bengals. reports thats 17 players in all were signed as free agents by the Bengals on the same day they sent wide receiver Chad Ochocinco to the Patriots.


Griffin & Niland NFL SIgning Coverage

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Former UMass football players John Griffin and Greg Niland benefitted quickly from the NFL lockout ending as both signed contracts as undrafted free agents on Tuesday. Griffin, a running back, signed with the Cincinnati Bengals, the same team former Minuteman Jeromy Miles plays for, while Niland, a guard, signed with the Arizona Cardinals. Below is coverage of their signings.

  • Hampshire Gazette: Lockout's end opens door for ex-Minutemen Niland, Griffin
  • UMass football players Niland & Griffin signed by NFL teams
  • Worcester Telegram: Oakmont grad John Griffin signs with Bengals
  • Cincy Jungle: Bengals sign running back John Griffin
  • Gazette: Griffin & Niland Sign With NFL Teams

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    John GriffinGreg Niland
    Matt Vautour of the Hampshire Gazette reports that former UMass football players Greg Niland (pictured, right) has signed as an undrafted free agent with the Arizona Cardinals and John Griffin (left) has signed with the Cincinnati Bengals.

    Boston Herald On UMass' Draft Prospects

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    The Boston Herald has a story on local college product that are hopeful of hearing their names called as the NFL Draft starts on Thursday night. Read about it in : Local prospects hoping to catch on.

    Offensive lineman Greg Niland of East Bridgewater, who began his career at Northeastern University before it dropped its football program, and went on to play his final season of eligibility at the University of Massachusetts, has piqued the interest of several NFL teams and could be a late-round pick.

    Other UMass players to watch are wide receiver Anthony Nelson, who caught 61 passes last season, running back John Griffin of Westminster, another NU transfer, and quarterback Kyle Havens.

    "Nelson did real well at the BC pro day and turned some heads," UMass coach Kevin Morris said. "Griffin, as well, with his physical skills. Nelson has some people wanting to take a second and third look at how good he is with the ball and how fast he is. Havens, too, has a couple of teams interested. We just need to get this (NFL) lockout to get unlocked, to get these guys into camps to show what they can do."

    ESPNBoston On UMass Players At BC's Pro Day

    | 11 Comments | No TrackBacks has a story on Boston College's Pro Day which includes five UMass players: tailback John Griffin, quarterback Kyle Havens, linebacker Mike Mele, wide receiver Anthony Nelson and lineman Greg Niland. UMass alum Mike Reiss writes about the event including many comments from Niland.

    Having starred at Coyle-Cassidy High School in Taunton, Mass., he earned a scholarship to Northeastern University. But after the 2009 season, the program was cut, putting him in a tough spot.

    Would he transfer to finish his football career and keep his NFL dreams alive? Or stay at Northeastern to get his degree?

    As it turned out, Niland took advantage of a plan that allowed him to transfer to UMass so he could play the 2010 season, before transferring back to Northeastern so he could finish his business administration degree this spring.

    Niland measured 6-foot-4 and weighed 304 pounds at pro day, which is a solid physical makeup for an NFL hopeful on the line. He felt he ran well, and to the casual observer, he looked competitive in drills led by Scarnecchia and Giants offensive line coach Pat Flaherty that tested hip flexibility, hip explosion, change of direction and run- and pass-blocking skills.

    "Hopefully maybe today will get the attention of some of the scouts, and they can go back to the filmwork and tape, and maybe I can sneak into the later rounds," said Niland, who plans to attend UMass' pro day on Friday. "That would be the best-case scenario. If not, we'll see what happens with the NFL lockout. One way or another, I just want to make a camp."

    A player like Niland, who faces longer odds to be drafted, would be hurt by a lockout because NFL teams won't be allowed to sign undrafted players.

    Happy Birthday: Dec. 17 - Andrew Goss, John Griffin

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    Today's birthday boys on Dec. 17 are freshman swimmer Andrew Goss and football senior tailback John Griffin

    Andrew Goss  John Griffin

    Daily Collegian's Football Previews Vs. URI

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    Check out the previews of the Daily Collegian of the UMass football regular-season finale. 

    Daily Collegian: Griffin Eyes Title With UMass

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    On an average Sunday during the fall semester, Northeastern University football players gathered for a meeting on the basketball court, as they customarily did in the day or two following each game.

    Players chatted familiarly with each other, cracking the usual jokes while sharing stories about their weekends. They awaited the arrival of their coach for what they assumed was a typical recap of their most recent game, a 33-27 win over Rhode Island in their season finale on Nov. 21 of last season.

    Junior running back John Griffin arrived at the gym as he did in week's past, expecting an assessment of his own and the team's performances amidst analysis of game film. Yet, something about this meeting seemed a bit peculiar.

    Read the full story in the Daily Collegian.

    NBC22 Video Preview Of Colonial Clash

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    It's called the Colonial Clash. UMass and New Hampshire will play at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough on Saturday.

    The stakes are high for both 12th ranked UMass and 10th ranked New Hampshire. The winner will have an inside track at a playoff spot, the loser will likely have to win out the rest of the year to make the FCS tournament.

    Football Radio Show Thursday Night At 7 p.m.

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    Join us at the Hangar Bar & Grille for the UMass Football Radio Show at 7 p.m., tonight as Voice of the Minutemen welcomes coach Kevin Morris and this week's guests senior tailback John Griffin and sophomore kicker/punter Caleb Violette. 

    Listen to the show here on

    If you have a question for Coach Morris, please Ask The Coach or send your comments to our twitter accounts @UMass_Football or @UMassAthletics.

    Collegian: RB Tandem Paying Off For Minutemen

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    The Daily Collegian has a piece on UMass' running back duo of John Griffin and Jonathan Hernandez.

    If there was any doubt before the start of the 2010 season that the No. 8 Massachusetts football team would rely heavily on the run, there is none now.

    The formula of being a run-first team with the ability to keep defenses honest with the play-action has fueled the Minutemen offense to an impressive start.

    Through four games, UMass (3-1, 1-0 Colonial Athletic Association) has averaged 212.8 rushing yards per contest, ranking third in the CAA behind Delaware and Villanova. The duo of John Griffin and Jonathan Hernandez has bolstered the backfield, allowing the Minutemen to use fresh legs late in games.

    Republican: Tailbacks Paying Dividends

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    After watching his football team squeeze out a hairy 26-21 victory at Stony Brook Saturday, University of Massachusetts coach Kevin Morris was asked about the luxury of using two top-shelf running backs in his offense.

    "With us, it's not a luxury. It's a necessity,'' Morris said.

    In a surprisingly difficult victory, No. 11-ranked UMass leaned heavily on Northeastern transfer John Griffin, who rushed 23 times for 132 yards and scored the deciding touchdown in the fourth quarter.

    Read the full story in the Springfield Republican.

    Boston Herald Monday Update On Football

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    There is a mention of UMass' football win at Stony Brook in the Boston Herald as part of a weekend notebook.

    No. 11 UMass (3-1, 1-0 CAA) rallied to win at Stony Brook (1-3), 26-21. John Griffin, a senior transfer from the defunct Northeastern football program, had 132 yards and a touchdown. Junior co-captain Tyler Holmes had an interception to ice matters.

    Resiliency has become the UMass calling card.

    "It was a battle, a real toe-to-toe fight throughout . . . the guys just stuck with it and made some plays," said coach Kevin Morris. "The kids aren't afraid to keep coming after it to get the win. Now, the negative was we got some penalties (seven for 60 yards) to put oursleves in trouble and Stony Brook is a really strong team and ran the ball well against us with play-action. It was a real physical game and we came out good on that end of it. But, at the end, the team came back to win."

    The Minutemen play at Towson on Saturday night.

    Gazette: Griffin Rescues Minutemen

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    The Daily Hampshire Gazette has a follow-up on Saturday's football win at Stony Brook.

    In a game featuring seven former Hofstra players, it was a former Northeastern player who rescued the University of Massachusetts.

    Senior tailback John Griffin, who was Northeastern's featured back last year, had his best statistical day as a Minuteman, with 23 carries for 132 yards and a touchdown.

    "If you're rushing for that many, that's a great night," UMass coach Kevin Morris said. "We're excited about that. He certainly made a lot of big runs and broke a lot of tackles tonight. "

    Telegram: Griffin, UMass To Test Holy Cross

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    Holy Cross coach Tom Gilmore thought John Griffin was a good player last year when the Crusaders saw him at Northeastern. Griffin, the former Oakmont Regional High running back who is now at UMass, will present the Crusaders' defense with a whole new challenge tomorrow night at McGuirk Alumni Stadium in Amherst. Read the whole story in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.

    Collegian Stories On Football Team

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    Republican: Johns Give UMass 1-2 Punch

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    "They're not a couple of your average Joes. They're a couple of high-level Johns,'' coach Kevin Morris said after Saturday's 27-23 victory over William & Mary. Or Jons. He was talking about John Griffin and Jonathan Hernandez, who combined for 46 carries, 212 yards and three touchdowns.

    Check out the Springfield Republican sidebar on UMass' rushing tandem.

    Recaps On UMass' 27-23 Win Over No. 4 William & Mary

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    Here's a rundown of the recaps and stories on UMass' 27-23 upset win over No. 4 William & Mary.

  • Boston Globe: UMass rallies for upset
  • Springfield Republican: UMass football team refuses to be denied in opening victory
  • Worcester Telegram & Gazette: Locals aid UMass upset of W&M
  • Boston Herald: Minutemen begin run
  • Daily Hampshire Gazette: Minutemen upset William & Mary
  • The Examiner: Minutemen upset #4 William and Mary 27-23
  • Worcester Telegram & Gazette: Griffin, Hernandez Lead UMass
  • WWLP NBC 22: UMass Upsets #4 William & Mary
  • Daily Press: W&M Loses Opener 27-23 At UMass
  • Herald: 5 Questions For UMass Football

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    John Connolly of the Boston Herald has his preview of the UMass football season. He has his 5 Questions for 2010. Check it out.

    UMass tailback John Griffin takes a...

    Globe: Griffin Already Has The Moves

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    How about living in 13 places in 21 years? Meet tailback John Griffin. Check out this great profile feature on Griffin in the Boston Globe. Here's a partial list... Germany. St. Louis. Nevada. New Mexico. Northern and Southern California. Texas. Maryland. Massachusetts.

    John Griffin had a decision to make after Northeastern ended its football program.

    Gazette: Preview Of Football's Offense

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    In the Daily Hampshire Gazette, Matt Vautour takes a look at the Minutemen on offense with a breakdown of each position.

    Sentinel Feature: Double Trouble - Griffin & Hernandez

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    Here is another story on UMass football and the talented backfield featuring Central Mass natives John Griffin and Jonathan Hernandez. Read about them in the Sentinel and Enterprise. Oakmont Regional product Griffin will pair with junior Hernandez, a former Leominster High School star, to share the responsibilities of leading the Minutemen ground attack.

    Gazette Profiles Tailback John Griffin

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    With his resume, John Griffin shouldn't have to prove himself to anyone, especially in the Colonial Athletic Association. But as the new University of Massachusetts senior tailback prepares for his final season, he's doing just that. Check out Matt Vautour's story on Griffin in the Daily Hampshire Gazette.

    Here's a video piece on Griffin as well.

    Two Feature Stories From Sentinel-Enterprise

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    Here are two great features from UMass Football Media Day from the Fitchburg Sentinel-Enterprise by Nick Mallard.

  • Local Talent Fuels UMass. It has quotes from John Griffin, Rob Blanchflower, Jesse Hunt and Jonathan Hernandez.

  • Also, check this sidebar, Former Oakmont stars reunite on UMass gridiron about Griffin and Hunt being teammates again.

  • Boston Herald Feature On UMass' Ex-Huskies

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    The Boston Herald has a feature piece on UMass football and its addition of three former Northeastern Huskies: John Griffin, Chad Hunte and Greg Niland. It has some good quotes from all three players.

    "It's been a great experience," Hunte said. "It's a really close team, a really great tradition. I knew that coming in, so football-wise it's been great. I have a new family. I love being out here."

    Coverage and Links From Football Media Day

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    Look back at the UMass Football Media Day with these links.

  • Complete coverage with videos and photos from

  • Ke'TV: Ke'Mon Bailey's Video Feature on Media Day.

  • Jumbo Photo Gallery.

  • Springfield Republican with a story leading with Kyle Havens being named the starting QB.

  • CBS3 Springfield had this report on the day.

  • NBC22's feature on the event

  • Coach Morris' Press Conference.

  • Check Out The John Griffin Profile Video

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    Meet senior tailback John Griffin, a 2009 All-CAA selection, who will tote the ball for UMass this season after transferring from Northeastern. Watch the video on UMass' New All-Access Video Player.

    Or watch it on YouTube.

    The sports Network has this column on transfers to watch in FCS and mentions UMass' John Griffin.