Shaquem was born with the rare disorder amniotic band syndrome of his left hand. He endured the pain for four years before his hand was surgically removed in 1999. Shaquem was told “you can’t” most of his life, but he loved the game of football and his passion to play was stronger than his absence of a left hand. His identical twin brother, Shaquill, and he chose to play college football at UCF because the school was committed to giving both Griffins the opportunity to play.
It took Shaquem longer to become an impact player at UCF because of a position switch from safety to linebacker, but once he found the field, his impact was almost immediate. In his first year as a starter he won the American Athletic Conference (AAC) Defensive Player of the Year award. The combination of speed, power and athleticism completely overshadowed the challenges he faced.
Shaquem was drafted in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft (141st overall) by the Seattle Seahawks and joined Shaquill in the same NFL city – Shaquill was drafted in the third round by the Seahawks in 2017.