Surviving Seven All Earn Degrees

Penn State’s scholarship fifth-year seniors have all graduated before their final season of eligibility.

Following the turmoil of the last few years, only seven scholarship fifth-year seniors remain on the Penn State football team for the 2014 season.

They have many things in common, including:

• They helped the program survive the Sandusky scandal.

• They have been under five different head coaches (including two interims).

• They have seen an incredibly quick turnover of the roster. Only nine players on the current team ever played a snap under Joe Paterno.

Now, the seven fifth-year seniors have something else in common. With two of them receiving their degrees in ceremonies at the Bryce Jordan Center Saturday, all seven men have graduated from college before their final season of athletic eligibility.

Two non-scholarship players also received degrees Saturday.

To put this into perspective, realize that -- despite the year-round demands of playing major-college football and everything that has gone on in Happy Valley since they arrived on campus -- all of these athletes earned degrees less than four years after the first game of their first season (2010).

Here is a rundown of the Penn State fifth-year seniors who have graduated since May.

Received their degrees Saturday:

DE C.J. Olaniyan (criminology)

S Ryan Keiser (kinesiology)

DB Devin Pryor* (energy business and finance)

RB Deron Thompson* (energy business and finance)

Received their degrees in May:

DE Brad Bars (finance)

OG Miles Dieffenbach (advertising/public relations)

LB Mike Hull (finance)

DB Jesse Della Valle (advertising/public relations)

RB Zach Zwinak (criminology)

*Non-scholarship player


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