Graduation Time For Football Tigers

Six Auburn football players earned their degrees Friday.

Auburn, Ala.--Friday is a special day for seven Auburn football players as they received their diplomas and officially become graduates of Auburn University.

Chris Evans, Robert Shiver, Aairon Savage, Tommy Trott, Antonio Coleman, Blake Shrader and Bryan Harris were all honored at a reception along with other student-athletes.

A fourth-year junior who will come back for his senior season next year, Savage graduated with a degree in exercise science. He says that for him the day wasn't about what he's accomplished, but more for what everyone around him has sacrificed to help him succeed and also what it shows about the Auburn program.

"It's very special, not only for me, I think I'm at the bottom of the list," Savage says. "It's special for my family and for the university and for the program. It's what we stand for in Auburn football, just being able to come in and be successful both on and off the field. That's what is instilled in the Auburn program and the Auburn players.

"It just goes to show you what we believe in when we first come in," he adds. "We base it on family. Today is just another day for us to bring family in. With the other guys who have finished it's a great time to get together and celebrate a joyous occasion."

(Left to right) Academic counselor Troy Smith, Aairon Savage, Chris Evans, Robert Shiver, Bryan Harris and academic counselor Brett Wohlers are shown on graduation day.

For Shiver the road has been a little different. A former walk-on to the program, Shiver paid his dues before eventually earning a scholarship. He says to go through all he has and come on smiling on graduation day is something he wouldn't change for the world.

"It's a great accomplishment," Shiver says. "It has been a long five years, but a good five years. I definitely picked the right school coming here. It was a great journey from walking on to earning a scholarship. Everything else has been really good.

"The best feeling I had here wasn't winning a game or meeting all the players," he adds. "They were all top things in my life, but I'll never forget the feeling of sitting in Coach (Eddie) Gran's office when they told me they were putting me on scholarship. It was a deep breath of joy and excitement that I could tell my parents all the hard work has paid off. It felt good to able to give back to my parents some of what they had given me."

Earning a degree in marketing, Shiver notes that while it took a lot of hard work to make his dreams come true on the football field, it was just as demanding off the field as well and adds most people don't realize what goes into playing football at a school like Auburn.

"People just look at it on a win-loss basis on Saturday," Shiver says. "Everybody always talks football year-round. They don't see that we're here two or three hours every day from Monday through Friday then extra hours putting in watching film. Then all the stuff you do throughout the off-season. It's a lot of work."

Other fall semester graduates include:

Baseball—Brent Speigner

Women's Basketball—Alexis Ogubie

Equestrian—Ashley Milton

Gymnastics—Ashley French; Aimee Goheen; Karmen Pinckney

Soccer—Kori Hoelscher

Women's Swimming—Kara Denby; Rachel Goh; Kristen Hastrup

Women's Tennis—Jill Hastenrath

Men's Track—Ty Akins

Volleyball—Jessica Glover

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