Palm Harbor University High School senior, Jayden Griggs balances a heavy academic load and elite level lacrosse commitment in his busy schedule.
Ask Palm Harbor University High School Head Lacrosse Coach Adam Deisley to say a few words about senior defender Jayden Griggs and you will quite literally get a novel-length response.
“Jayden has been one of the best all-around players I have ever coached over the past 20 seasons,” Deisley said. “He is the kind of kid every coach wants.”
Deisley can list Griggs accolades – James Callahan Award for defensive player of the year in 2021 and 2022, team captain in 2022 and 2023, First team All-PCAC in 2021 and 2022, PCAC Championship MVP in 2023 – off the top of his head and is quick to point out his confidence and strong communication skills on the field. In the PCAC Championship game, Griggs helped lead his team in a come-from-behind victory against Osceola, putting some of his strongest talents on display.
“He has never been one to back down from a challenge,” Deisley said. “He is literally like having a coach on the field.”
Griggs, most recently named a 2023 Academic All-American by the USA Lacrosse FL Gulf Coast Chapter, is a fierce and technical competitor who takes pride in his ability to lead and pick up his teammates. But he hasn’t always been such a dynamic athlete. According to Griggs, his lacrosse IQ put him on the map long before he was as fast and strong as he is now.
“I was never the fastest or biggest on the field,” said Griggs, who mad ethe switch from playing football to lacrosse when he was six years old. “My head is what has allowed me to thrive in this sport.”
Griggs will continue to foster his love of lacrosse as a student-athlete at Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, but he is equally excited about the school’s engineering program. As part of the Center for Wellness and Medical Professions at Palm Harbor, Griggs has taken a heavy courseload of maths and sciences on the bio-medical track. He sought an institution that would support his desire to compete in the classroom and on the field.
"My family has always stressed the importance of academics,” Griggs said. “The best thing about Palm Harbor is definitely its teachers. They do everything in their power to make sure you are succeeding.”
Like many seniors who will walk across the stage this month, Griggs is slightly anxious about closing this four-year chapter of his life and moving away from family and friends that are like family. Several of his best friends are ones who have been by his side since he was five years old. And he has been playing lacrosse in honor of his mom – complete with a heart circled “mom” on his chin strap – since he was in sixth grade. But he is looking forward to what’s next and knows “it’s time.”
“I am very proud of the young man that Jayden has become and his future could not be brighter,” said his coach. “Jayden is a born leader and one of the most selfless players to ever put on a Hurricanes jersey.”