Warren Griffith found his way to Natchitoches from the rural Florida Panhandle, then he made a name for himself by paving the way for others.
He started three seasons on an offensive line that created space for future NFL stars like Joe Delaney, Mark Duper and Bobby Hebert in the late 1970s.
Griffith will be recognized as the Exchange Bank and Trust Demon Great of the Game during the first quarter of NSU football’s contest against Nicholls on Saturday. Kickoff is at 6:05 p.m. for a game that will be broadcast on ESPN+.
“We had a group of guys that appreciated each other, that had each other’s back,” Griffith said. “To block for (Delaney) was the greatest.
“I would get out to the linebacker, and if Joe got to the secondary, he’d beat a defensive back and he’d be gone. All those guys were great guys, and I had a good relationship with everybody.”
Griffith started his career on the defensive line in 1976, then shifted to the offensive line in 1978, eventually earning All-American honors in 1980.
Griffith helped NSU offenses break 33 records during his tenure.
He said NSU signed him as a linebacker, spent time on special teams and as a reserve defensive end before coaches noticed him as an offensive lineman on the scout team.
“I wasn’t getting in the game, so I decided that the scout team reps would be my game time,” Griffith said. “I flattened a linebacker named U.L. Finister on a play, and then on the next play, I tied him up and he couldn’t make the tackle.
“Finister was much bigger than me, had huge legs, and I thought he’d come find me after practice. But when he came up to me, he shook my hand. The coaches wanted to move me to center that spring (1978), but I had never snapped a ball in my life. They worked with me 15 minutes every day, and I became a center.”
The Baker, Florida, native was chosen as a Top 100 Demon Players of All-Time in 2007 and inducted into the N-Club Hall of Fame in 2010.