Tide Winter Graduation Includes Athletes

How often do coaches talk about the importance of their athletes earning degrees? It's actually happening at Alabama. A total of 22 Crimson Tide student-athletes are slated to receive their degrees Saturday when UA holds its winter commencement at Coleman Coliseum.

The number includes 14 members of the Alabama football team, seven receiving their bachelor's degrees and seven completing master's degrees. Next week those members of the Crimson Tide Southeastern Conference championship team will begin preparation for the inaugural College Football Playoff, meeting Ohio State in the semifinal round in the Sugar Bowl on January 1. There will be 22 Bama players with at least one degree.

During the regular season, 15 Bama football players had already earned degrees, which was tied with Boston College for the most in major college football. Prior to Saturday, since 2008 Alabama has had 117 degrees (graduate and undergraduate) awarded to men still suiting up for the Crimson Tide.

Those earning master's degrees today are All-SEC guard Arie Kouandjio, All-SEC tackle Austin Shepherd, tight end Brian Vogler, safety Nick Perry, wide receiver Daniel Geddes, and snapper M.K. Taylor. Bachelor's degrees were to be presented to All-SEC linebacker Trey DePriest, wide receiver Christion Jones, defensive end D.J. Pettway, tight end Malcolm Faciane, offensive lineman Isaac Luatua, offensive lineman Leon Brown, and linebacker Josh Dickerson.

Kouandjio was named a Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-American this season.

A member of the Crimson Tide gymnastics team’s 2011 and 2012 NCAA Championship squads, the 2013 NCAA vault champion and seven-time All-American Diandra Milliner will receive her degree on Saturday as will All-American swimmer Vlad Caciuc. Swimmers Hunter Hinson, Stephanie Kinsey and George Wong will all graduate Saturday as will Hannah Merrill (rower), Caitlin Bernardin (volleyball) and Claire Turner (track and field).

Saturday's ceremonies will be broadcast live over the Internet. The webcast will be archived on UA's Web site, www.ua.edu, and will be available for viewing for approximately 30 days following the ceremony.

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