East Texas high school rivals Griffin, Kennedy get ready together for college level

Sports

TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Chapel Hill grad Khalan Griffin and Whitehouse alum Peyton Kennedy became East Texas high school football standouts, both accepting college scholarships last December.

But after the COVID-19 pandemic curbed their individual preparations for the next level this spring, the two of them decided to get themselves ready together.

“Everything is double-sided. You know everything doesn’t have to be negative if you want to make it positive,” said Griffin a Rice University signee.

Which is why he picked up the phone and called Kennedy, a Houston Baptist signee, knowing the two of them could benefit from each other as they geared up to play Division one college football in the Houston area.

“Yeah let’s go get it. Let’s go get this work, cuz we gotta be ready for whenever we go up to Houston. We gotta be able to come out there and compete, you know, they looking for us to make some big moves when we get up there,” said Kennedy.

“It’s really helping both of us out because you know we’re getting to learn from each other. You know, he plays linebacker and I play running back. So we are matched up a lot in the game. So we’ve just been practicing off each other & getting better off each other,” Griffin explained.

“He gives me some good looks. Cuz, he’s very good athlete, you know, he’s very quick, he can go in at slot. And he helps me out in the slot too. So, helps me out a lot in coverage. And I can help him out whenever he’s trying to break open against linebackers. So it’s just a win-win for us really,” added Kennedy.

And a little motivational trash talking along the way doesn’t hurt.

“You know, you gotta have thick skin dealing with me and him. And that’s what makes us so great,” said Kennedy.

The time together has allowed Kennedy who played multiple positions on both sides of the ball at Whitehouse to diversify his arsenal at the linebacker position.

“Be like man this kid can cover. Let’s put him in some situations where he’s gotta cover. Or he can play the run. Let’s put him in some situations where he can stop the run and just be an all-around player. They can, you know, raise my stock up as a player,” states Kennedy.

Now fully recovered from knee surgery that caused him to miss most of his senior season at Chapel Hill, Griffin says he feels refreshed, and believes he has more speed than ever before.

“Everything is great. I’m back to 110-percent I think. Like I took my time with it. I don’t know if I’ve ever played on a fully healthy knee. But now like, it’s fully healthy, and I feel way faster than I was,” Griffin exclaimed.

The time away has also helped him get ready to play a position he didn’t play much at the high school level.

“It really helped me out and it really like gave me the time to prepare, you know prepare to play running back. Cuz you know I didn’t play running back in high school. I was a quarterback. And you know so I never really took the beating or what not. But now that I’ve had time to get my upper body stronger, my lower body stronger, I feel like I’m ready to play, I’m ready to play at an effective level,” Griffin explained.

Hoping to make East Texas proud, both Kennedy and Griffin expect to continue to push each other after they report to their respective school in H-Town on July 5.

“We just gonna make sure that we stay on top, stay on top of each other, make sure that we are doing our thing, remembering the reason why we got there in the first place,” said Kennedy.

Watch the video to see the story.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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