Vanderbilt running back Rocko Griffin leaves team

The Hustler confirmed Griffin’s defection with a team spokesperson. 


Vanderbilt Athletics

Rocko Griffin runs for a touchdown against Ole Miss on Nov. 20, 2021. (Vanderbilt Athletics)

Bryce Smith, Sports Editor

UPDATED: This piece was updated at approximately 1:30 p.m. CDT to include a statement from head coach Clark Lea.

Vanderbilt football received another bit of bad news in the running back room on Monday afternoon: Backup tailback Rocko Griffin has left the team, according to Robbie Weinstein of 247Sports. The Hustler confirmed the news with a team spokesperson.

Griffin, a junior from Georgia, was the Commodores leading rusher last season with 511 rushing yards. After rushing for a season-high 11 carries and 63 yards against Hawaii in the team’s opening game, Griffin was sidelined with injury in Vanderbilt’s next three contests. Since his return at Alabama in Week Five, he has carried the ball just four times for 23 yards across two games. Fellow running back Patrick Smith—who was suspended for the first four games of the season—replaced Griffin as the backup running back in both games, demoting the junior to third string.

For Vanderbilt, it is the third member of the program to leave mid-season and second in the running back room. In August, freshmen linebacker Daniel Martin and running back Maurice Edwards were dismissed from the program following the team’s trip to Hawaii.

Head coach Clark Lea confirmed the news in a statement released via Twitter on Oct. 10 at 1:20 p.m. CDT.