Cox And Browder Among 46 Athletic Graduates

A handful of Auburn football players picked up their diplomas on Thursday among the 46 student-athletes to walk.

Auburn, Ala.--Quarterback Brandon Cox, receiver Lee Guess, defensive end Christopher Browder, holder Matthew Motley, kicker Tyler DiPace, Perry Hooper and defensive back Pete Ruzicka were among Auburn students that received a degree on Thursday morning.

Guess, who exhausted his football eligibility with Auburn's 17-14 victory over Nebraska in the Cotton Bowl, walked across the stage for the second time. He received his undergrad and a Masters in Business Administration in just five years.

"Coach Tubs (Tommy Tuberville), even while he was recruiting us," Guess explains, "he was like, ‘Auburn may or may not be for you, but our determination for everybody is to let you try to earn a starting spot and that you're always a student first. We're going to push you as hard as we can to get your degree.' That's one thing he applied and made it happen.

"I just stayed with what my goals were," Guess adds. "My college experience was definitely to get my education and on my way earn my position playing football, and both of those actually happened the best way for me."

Cox, a longtime friend and teammate of Guess going back to their days at Hewitt-Trussville, also received a degree from the School of Business.

"It's been a while," Cox says, "but it's the reason I came here--to get an education. It really doesn't feel like graduation since I'm coming back in a week to take classes. It's definitely good to get it out of the way."

Because of a muscle disease called myasthenia gravis, Cox was delayed in starting his academic and football career at Auburn by a semester. With one year of eligibility remaining, the 6-3 lefty has already thrown for 4,768 yards and 32 touchdown passes and will have the opportunity as a senior to finish near the top of every major passing statistic in school history.

He'll play his senior season as a graduate student trying to earn a second major before a possible career in the NFL.


Cox and his family celebrate graduation at the athletics complex.

"The first people you meet with when you come on campus are the academic advisers," Cox says. "They get you straight. The first day here you're in study hall. If you don't go to class or if you don't make the grades, you're not going to play. That's how Coach Tubs is. He's all about the academics and that's the top priority here."

Browder, a three-year contributor at defensive end, just signed a contract to play in the Canadian Football League after recording 10.5 tackles for a loss in 34 games. He transferred to Auburn by way of Wilcox Central High School and Southwest Mississippi Community College.

"It was a tough transition because it's a big university with a different style of class and the way teachers teach," Browder explains. "I'm really glad it's finished and I've graduated. Everybody has been pushing me to graduate. Ever since the semester started I've had training, class, training and class for the whole semester. I'm just glad to be finished.

"I signed a contract with the B.C. Lions in Canada so I'm going to the CFL for a while and see how that turns out," he adds. "Hopefully I'll be back here in the NFL--hopefully."

Browder graduated with a degree in Sociology and will leave for Canada at the end of the month.

2007 SPRING GRADUATES

Baseball
Andy Bennett (Auburndale, Fla.)
Josh Blake (Olathe, Kan.)
Chris Dennis (Madison, Ala.)
Ryan Stanley (Tampa, Fla.)

Women's Basketball
Nicole Louden (Paterson, N.J.)
Tia Miller (St. Petersburg, Fla.)

Equestrian
Natalie Burton (Memphis, Tenn.)
Alexandra Goldstein (Merion, Pa.)
Whitney Kimble (Powell, Ohio)
Anna Worden (Ft. Payne, Ala.)

Football
Christopher Browder (Camden, Ala.)
Brandon Cox (Trussville, Ala.)
Tyler DiPace (Acton, Mass.)
Perry Hooper (Montgomery, Ala.)
Matthew Motley (Opelika, Ala.)
Pete Ruzicka (Cranberry Twp, Pa.)

Men's Golf
Andrew Medley (Athens, Ala.)
James Moseley (Bainbridge, Ga.)

Women's Golf
Nicole Hage (Coral Springs, Fla.)
Jessica Lovell (Birmingham, Ala.)

Gymnastics
Nicole Barnett (Chatsworth, Ga.)
Danielle Holtz (Bradenton, Fla.)
Oliva McDaniel (Colletsville, N.C.)
Shanna Somero (Anderson, S.C.)

Men's Swimming
Seth Barry (Chesterton, Ind.)
Douglas Van Wie (Charlotte, N.C.)

Women's Swimming
Adrienne Binder (Santa Barbara, Calif.)
Lauren Duerk (Defiance, Ohio)
Leslie Lunsmann (Houston, Texas)

Men's Tennis
Brent Goedjen (Muscle Shoals, Ala.)

Men's Track
Joseph Giattino (Schertz, Texas)
Gregory Rogers (Clanton, Ala.)
William Whitaker
Women*s Track*4 Josanne Lucas (Canbee, Tobago) Willette Miller (Bahamas) Tamara Thomas (St. Mary, Jamaica) Alayne Thompson (Jenks, Okla.) Soccer*5 Courtney Crandell (Des Moines, Iowa) Ashley Eason (Memphis, Tenn.) Anna Fiser (Jackson, Miss.) Jacqueline Schwarz (Muskogee, Okla.) Jennifer Zarzour (Huntsville, Ala.) Softball*4 Krista Barts (Alpharetta, Ga.) Ashley Griffin (Pace, Fla.) Robin Martin (Palm City, Fla.) Nicole Russo (Kenner, La.)


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