Cardinals received diplomas on Thursday night

The University of Louisville football program success spilled over into graduation on Thursday night, as more than a dozen members of the team received their diplomas during graduation ceremonies at the KFC Yum! Center.

The University of Louisville football team has enjoyed a tremendous amount of success on the field with its 11-1 record and a trip to the Russell Athletic Bowl. But head coach Charlie Strong has made sure there have been more accomplishments off the field.

On Dec. 19, Strong saw more success on Thursday as more than two dozen football players were able to earn their degrees and walk at graduation ceremonies at the KFC Yum! Center.

Strong has seen 93 of his 98 players earn their degrees since taking over the program in December of 2009.

On Thursday night, Chris Acosta, Teddy Bridgewater, Preston Brown, B.J. Butler, Gerald Christian, Robert Clark, Jarrett Davis, Brandon Dunn, George Durant, Michaelee Harris, Stephon Robinson, Jermaine Reve, Deon Rogers, Hunter Stout , Chris Walker, Alex Witcpalek all earned degrees.

"I'm so proud of the players that have worked so hard to earn their degrees," Strong said. "We have emphasized to the players and their parents that they are coming to UofL to earn their degrees, and I'm thrilled that so many of them earn theirs today. These players can only play football for so long, so it's imperative that they leave here with their degree in hand. It's a great day for Louisville football tonight."

"Acamdemics first," said redshirt sophomore Jermaine Reve. "That's one thing that we take seriously here, so I'm proud to be doing that."

For underclassmen, like Reve, it meant fewer time off during the summer months.

"I just took one class every summer and never took a break off with my academics and that kind of helped me get ahead of things," Reve explained.

The Cardinals also have five players on the current roster who earned their diplomas last May.

Additionally, two former Cardinals also received their diplomas last night.

Former basketball standout Tony Williams, who scored over 1,000 points during his career at U of L, returned to school following a few years of playing professionally overseas.

"After I came back to Louisville I started thinking about Plan B. I know it sounds cheesy, but I really need to succeed," said Williams, who earned a degree in communications.

Former U of L tight end Ronnie Ghent also received his degree last night. A four-time all-conference selection, Ghent played professionally for a few years, including stops with the Cincinnati Bengals and New York Giants. He completed a degree in organizational leadership and learning, which he will use to become an athletic trainer.

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