The Washington Times - August 7, 2012, 09:33AM

Before Robert Griffin III became a household name playing quarterback, he was considered among the best track prospects in the country. Some of the runners he competed against in high school and at Baylor currently are competing in the Olympics, so he’s had an eye on the games since the track and field events began over the weekend.

“I’ve ran against a bunch of those guys,” Griffin said Monday. “In the track world, we’re all family and I’m really proud of everything that they’re doing.”

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As a high school junior, Griffin was 0.01 of a second slower than the national high school record in the 300-meter hurdles. After setting Texas state records in the 110- and 300-meter hurdles, he was named the 2007 Gatorade Texas Boys Track & Field Athlete of the Year.

He probably would have broken the record as a senior, but he graduated high school early and enrolled at Baylor, where he continued to excel at track.

During the spring of 2008, Griffin was an All-American in the 400-meter hurdles. He won the Big 12 championship in that event with a time of 49.22 seconds. He competed in the Olympic trials that year and finished 11th with a time of 49.38.

Griffin on Monday afternoon said he would watch Monday night’s Olympic final of the 400-meter hurdles. Felix Sanchez of the Dominican Republic won gold in 47.63.

Griffin competed in only one track meet at Baylor after his first season. He had to change his body shape to withstand the rigors of playing quarterback. It was a sacrifice he was willing to make.

He’s still a huge fan of the sport, though. He gave a shoutout Monday to Sanya Richards-Ross, the American who recently won Olympic gold in the 400 meters. Richards-Ross trains with Baylor director of track and field Clyde Hart, who also trained sprinter Michael Johnson during Johnson’s prime.

“It’s pretty exciting to watch those races,” Griffin said.