Stuart McNair

Alabama football will add a number of new graduates on Saturday

Degree earners at Alabama include some top football players

The four teams in the College Football Playoff all graduated at least 74 percent of their players in 2016, according to the latest look at graduation rates for all college football bowl teams, released this month by The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) at the University of Central Florida.

Clemson graduated 84 per cent of their football players, Alabama 80 per cent, Washington 78 per cent, and Ohio State 74 per cent. Alabama and Washington will meet in the Peach Bowl and Clemson and Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl on Dec. 31 in the semifinals of the College Football Playoff.

Alabama’s athletics department isn’t resting on its laurels.

Winter commencement at The University is Saturday and more than 30 Crimson Tide student-athletes from 12 different sports will receive degrees.

Football leads the way with 16, including three – Alphonse Taylor, Dakota Ball and Brandon Greene – who earned master’s degrees this semester.

Additionally, 2016 Nagurski Trophy, Chuck Bednarik Award and Ted Hendricks Award winner Jonathan Allen, All-American Eddie Jackson, Southeastern Conference Championship Game Most Valuable Player and Butkus Award winner Reuben Foster, Blaine Anderson, Anthony Averett, David Cornwell, Raheem Falkins, Truett Harris, Jake Long, Cole Mazza, Brandon Moore and Joshua Palet will receive bachelor’s degrees.

The final member of the Alabama football family earning his bachelor’s degree this semester is Crimson Tide legend Marty Lyons. The All-America defensive end was part of Alabama’s famous Goal Line Stand against Penn State to win the 1978 national championship in the 1979 Sugar Bowl.

Nine Alabama football players had degrees in hand when the season started against Southern Cal in early September. The Crimson Tide ranked fourth among teams ranked in the top 25 in its graduation rate. Bama has led the nation in graduates participating in post-season play the past three years – 29 in 2015, 22 in 2014, and 28 in 2013.

Alabama’s last four national championship teams (2009, 2011, 2012, and 2015) included a total of 89 players who had earned degrees.

Seven members of the track and field/cross country program are set to receive degrees, including All-America performers Ahmed Ali and Andrew Harris along with Josh McCullan and Kevin Shannon from the men’s squad and All-SEC honoree Meropi Panagiotou as well as Allison Gregg and Anna Reed from the women’s team.

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