It’s graduation season, and two ex-college football players have fulfilled promises to late Hall of Fame coaches Joe Paterno and Paul “Bear” Bryant in doing just that, according to John Taylor of NBC Sports’ Pro Football Talk.
Let’s start with Stephon Morris, a cornerback who played for Paterno at Penn State from 2009-2012. He promised his coach that he would leave school with a diploma, but lacked one when he opted to join the professional ranks and was out of eligibility years. With Paterno having passed away in 2012, Morris worked to graduate this year and reflected on it.
“I wanted to be a part of ‘Success with Honor’ and the tradition of Penn State football players getting their degrees. I wanted to walk across that stage,” Morris said. “I want to be a part of that 87-percent graduation rate. I wanted to show the younger guys in the program now that if you set your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.”
Now let’s talk about Tony Nathan, who played running back for Bear Bryant at Alabama before spending nine years with the NFL’s Miami Dolphins. His promise came after having to drop some classes in which he fell behind due to football commitments, and Bryant would not let him drop them without promising to graduate. It took him 36 years, but Nathan finally received his diploma and fulfilled a promise not only to Bryant, but to his family.
Campus Sports sends both men the sincerest of congratulations on such a fine accomplishment!