UCF Football Program Continues Success In Classroom

May 8, 2008

ORLANDO, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - A record number of UCF football players earned their degrees in the spring of 2008 as 17 Knights received diplomas from the university on May 3. That number brings the total number of graduates from the football program to 28 for the 2007-08 academic year.

"These players work just as hard in the classroom as they do on the field and these graduation numbers prove that," head coach George O'Leary said. "I am as proud of these accomplishments in the classroom as I was when we won our first conference championship on the field this past December."

The graduating seniors were not the only UCF football players demonstrating success in the classroom as Conference USA officials released its Commissioner's Academic Honor Roll members on Tuesday. The Knights led all league football teams with 39 players named to the list.

On Wednesday, freshmen Willie Gaetjens and Khymest Williams earned the commissioner's academic medal for having cumulative GPA's of 3.75 or higher as well. The team also posted its highest spring semester GPA during the O'Leary tenure with a 2.758, which brought the squad's cumulative total to 2.767.

"These players are dedicated to succeeding in the classroom and these numbers show that they are doing just that," associate director of academic services for student-athletes Kristy Belden said. "This has been a great year for the team in all aspects and we look forward to continuing this trend."

Of the 17 players that graduated last Saturday, four will be back for their final year of eligibility in the fall. Defensive secondary mates Johnell Neal, Jason Venson and Sha'reff Rashad all earned their degrees as did offensive lineman Mike Lavoie. Neal and Venson will work towards their second bachelor's degrees, while Rashad has been accepted into the criminal justice master's program and Lavoie will continue his studies in the MBA program.

Lavoie and freshman Darin Baldwin both had perfect 4.00 GPA's in the spring.

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