Rarely do young actors put their careers on hold, certainly those who have appeared in blockbuster movies as a main character.
This is the choice, however, of Riley Griffiths who starred in J.J. Abrams’ 2011 summer flick, ‘Super 8’ and is now preparing for his freshman year at Montana State University.
Griffiths beat off competition from over 50,000 applicants for the role of Charles Kaznyk, the director of the low-budget zombie movie for a film festival and best friend of the film’s protagonist.
The film went on to gross over $260 million and receive positive reviews worldwide, something Griffiths wasn’t prepared for.
“I didn’t really expect it and everything took off so fast, I didn’t know how people would react, it was truly crazy when that movie got big,” said Griffiths.
The 18-year-old considered sticking with acting, but college football was a dream that he couldn’t let go of, as reported by bobcatnation.com.
“I decided to focus on high school and football because I’ve been playing football for as long as I’ve been acting.
“Those two things have always been kind of the two things in my life. I always knew I wanted to pursue college football and play that so I knew I had to dedicate myself to do that.”
Griffiths has football in his blood, his father was safety for Southern Utah, so he is no stranger to the Big Sky Conference – his new division.
Two of the conference’s powerhouse teams came calling after strong high school season for Skyline, but Griffiths chose MSU after he ‘fell in love with the place’.
Montana offered a scholarship in December and Griffiths duly accepted and will study in the college’s film school to learn the production side of cinema that could help his future aspirations.
“One of the reasons Montana State was attractive to me is they have a great film program.
“That’s big to me. I’ve been acting since I was in first grade. When I was younger, I did a lot of plays and stuff. And I decided I wanted to pursue acting on a bigger level.
“I went and auditioned for Super 8 and ended up getting the role. That was an awesome experience. But I put that on hold.
“Now I want to play college football and learn the production side of film, the behind-the-camera stuff so I can own my own production company some day’” he said.
And it’s not as if the freshman lacks in the football department. During his two varsity seasons as defensive lineman, Griffiths recorded 83 tackles, including 9.5 sacks and 13.5 tackles for a loss. As a senior, he notched 52 tackles and 6.5 sacks.
You can check out Griffiths’ senior year highlightsvia this link. He is number 66.
The Sammamish-native describes his game as aggressive and passionate, but is humble enough to know he is not the complete player yet and is quick to praise his team.
“I play with a lot of passion and aggressiveness,” said Griffiths.
“I have a pretty good get off I like to think. Some areas I need to improve in are my all-around strength as a player and learning the game on a college level.”
The 6ft 3in 260-pound physical lineman, who has already had his number confirmed, cannot wait to get started.
Long line on talent
Griffiths, though, is not the first actor to play football at the collegiate level. Big names in the acting world have had strong careers such as Burt Reynolds, Dwayne Johnson, Tommy Lee Jones and James Caan.
Of all the actors to have played college ‘ball, one is closer to Griffiths than any other; Forest Whitaker, who was a defensive tackle at Cal Poly Pomona on a football scholarship majoring in drama and voice.
Whitaker unfortunately gave up the game due to a back injury before switching to USC but the path Griffiths treads is not an uncommon one.
Griffiths has already worked with some of the best in the business – Abrams and Spielberg to name a couple – and is primed for a strong career himself, but once he takes to the field with the Bobcats, an entirely new performance awaits for this talent.
Noteable actors who have played college football