WACO — Robert Griffin III lives alone in an apartment just down the road from the Baylor campus.
He already has a degree in political science earned in only three years after graduating high school early near the top of his class. A self-described “natural loner” who likes listening to any music other than heavy metal, Griffin still aspires to go to law school.
“I’m just a cool, calm, collected person. ... People around here know me as the kid. I’m goofy, wear goofy socks,” he said.
“Robert Griffin, not the football player, is just a normal person, just like everybody else.”
Get him on the field, and Griffin transforms into RG3, one of the nation’s most exciting quarterbacks. The former track standout could become a legitimate Heisman Trophy contender on a team that never even had a winning season as a Big 12 member before Griffin arrived.
Griffin throws, runs and even catches the ball for the 19th-ranked Bears.
He did it all in a season-opening 50-48 victory over defending Rose Bowl champion TCU, the nation’s top-ranked defense the past three seasons and a team that hadn’t lost a regular-season game since 2008.
“The play is never over with him,” said Phil Bennett, the new Baylor defensive coordinator in his 34th season of coaching who’s glad he only has to face Griffin on the practice field.
Griffin is a fourth-year junior because of a medical hardship after his season-ending knee injury in the third game two years ago. In his comeback last season, he helped lead the Bears to their first Top 25 ranking since 1993 and a bowl game.
He already holds 39 school records, including being the career passing leader. He has accounted for 69 touchdowns (46 passing, 23 rushing) in 29 games.
In that nationally televised Friday night opener this season, Griffin threw for 359 yards and five TDs. He made up for a late fumble that led to a go-ahead field goal for TCU, when on the ensuing possession he converted third-and-10 with a 15-yard catch while taking a crushing blow in the middle of the field as Baylor drove for its winning kick.