JONESBORO — Even though he is now a part of a Division I program that has won back-to-back conference titles, Dumas native Darion Griswold has not let it go to his head.
“My hometown has helped me keep my head on straight,” Griswold said. “It is a good feeling to see them come and watch you play.
“That’s what you need. You need those people. That’s great coming from our community.”
Griswold is a redshirt sophomore tight end and in 2012 he played in all 12 games and finished the year with 10 catches for 172 yards with a 17.2 average per catch.
“I want to do what I can to help the team,” Griswold said. “Whatever I can do to contribute to this team.
“It is not about me, it is about the team.”
Griswold said he hasn’t set any personal goals because he is more focused on helping the team be successful.
“It is not about me, it is about the team,” Griswold said. “As long as I’m contributing and doing what I can do on and off the field, that is good enough for me.”
During his three years at Arkansas State, the Red Wolves have had a revolving door of head coaches.
In 2011, ASU hired Hugh Freeze but after 10 wins and a bowl appearance, Freeze left for the vacant position at Ole Miss. Last season, ASU hired former Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahan to take over the reigns.
Malzahan led the Red Wolves to another 10-win season but left for the head coaching position at Auburn. ASU would win the GoDaddy.com Bowl in January without a head coach.
Bryan Harsin is ASU’s third head coach in three years but Griswold said he has liked what he has seen so far from the former University of Texas assistant.
“It has been great,” Griswold said. “His offense is great and he is a good person overall. He’s a great guy.
“I have no doubt he will be a great football coach here.”
With the departure of two-time reigning Sun Belt Player of the Year Ryan Aplin and an unproven head coach, some critics have not put a lot of stock into the Red Wolves season. But Griswold said not to underestimate his team.
“I expect us to compete for the Sun Belt Championship again and to have an overall good season,” Griswold said. “People are doubting us, saying we won’t be as good.
“I think we have a great shot at being as good as we have ever been.”
In his senior season at Dumas, Griswold ran for 772 yards on 95 carries with 15 touchdowns. He completed 74-of-143 passes for 1,785 yards and 19 touchdowns. He also recorded four receptions for 149 yards and two touchdowns.
“I think we are going to have a pretty good season,” Griswold said. “I’m looking forward to everything paying off.”
Arkansas State will begin the season against Arkansas-Pine Bluff at 6 p.m. Aug. 31 at Liberty Bank Stadium in Jonesboro.