Spartan Football Well Represented At 2008 Spring Commencement

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Ten members of the 2007 Spartan football team participated in spring commencement ceremonies, conducted last weekend (May 2-4) on the Michigan State University campus.

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Ten members of the 2007 Spartan football team participated in spring commencement ceremonies, conducted last weekend (May 2-4) on the Michigan State University campus: cornerback Mike Bell (urban and regional planning), running back Jacob Bishop (agribusiness management), wide receiver Carl Grimes (advertising), offensive guard Mike Gyetvai (mechanical engineering), defensive tackle Justin Kershaw (interdisciplinary studies in social science – human resources and society),  nose tackle Ogemdi Nwagbuo (interdisciplinary studies in social science – human resources and society), fullback Devin Pritchett (psychology), offensive guard Kenny Shane (sociology), nose tackle Chris Smith (English) and linebacker Rob Tabatchnick (construction management).

“I’m more excited about graduating than I am about the football opportunity that I have as a free agent with the New York Giants,” Nwagbuo said. “I put a lot of hard work into the last four-plus years, and it’s a great feeling to be an MSU graduate.”

“Growing up as a kid, I always dreamed about playing college football,” Tabatchnick said. “To be able to do that and earn a degree at the same time is quite rewarding. It was an awesome experience to walk across that stage and receive my diploma.”

Under first-year head coach Mark Dantonio, 17 Spartans have earned their undergraduate degrees, as seven student-athletes graduated prior to the start of the 2007 season, including offensive tackle Pete Clifford (interdisciplinary studies in social science – law and society), running back Brett Kahn (kinesiology), safety Travis Key (packaging), safety Cole Malatinsky (kinesiology), center John Masters (advertising), linebacker Kaleb Thornhill (interdisciplinary studies in social science – human resources and society) and quarterback John Van Dam (kinesiology).

“This is going to have the greatest impact in their lives,” Dantonio said. “This is why they came to college. As student-athletes, they didn’t pay lip service in the academic arena. They invested the time and effort to succeed in the classroom, and now, all of the hard work has really paid off. I’m so happy for them and their families.

“We tell prospects that we will support them in their efforts to pursue excellence, both in the classroom and on the playing field. We also want to build relationships that will last well past their playing careers. So when these graduates and their families return to campus in the future, it counts just like another win in Spartan Stadium. We strive to establish life-long relationships, not simply ones that last for four or five years.”