Dec. 29, 2015
When the Alabama football team takes the field Thursday for the 80th Cotton Bowl, there will be a program and national-record 29 Crimson Tide players suited up who have already earned their degree, including three that have earned their master’s degree.
The Tide’s 29 graduates breaks the previous national mark of 28 that played for Alabama in the 2014 Sugar Bowl against Oklahoma. This year’s Tide total means that more 20-percent of those wearing the crimson and white of Alabama in the Cotton Bowl have at least one college degree already in hand.
The Tide’s Cotton Bowl graduate tally is three ahead of second place Temple and seven ahead of third-place Kansas State. Clemson is the closest squad in the College Football Playoff with 15.
In addition to leading the nation in graduates on a bowl roster, the Tide also has the highest Graduation Success Rate among the four teams selected for this year’s College Football Playoff. When the GSR was announced by the NCAA in October, the Tide football program produced a score of 86 while Clemson posted an 84, Michigan State a 66 and Oklahoma a 65.
This year’s Cotton Bowl also marks the seventh straight year that the Crimson Tide has suited up more than 20 graduates for a bowl game.
A total of 23 members of the Tide’s 2015 SEC Championship squad earned degrees during the fall semester, including Kenyan Drake, Reggie Ragland, Cyrus Jones, Jarran Reed, Alphonse Taylor and Dominick Jackson. The Tide’s quarterback/center tandem of Jake Coker and Ryan Kelly both graduated with their master’s degrees this semester. Isaac Luatua also earned his master’s degree this December.
Other fall Tide graduates include Ryan Anderson, Dakota Ball, Parker Barrineau, Denzel Devall, TY Flournoy-Smith, Brandon Greene, Bernel Jones, Korren Kirven, Darren Lake, Dillon Lee, Alec Morris, Michael Nysewander, Geno Matias-Smith and Dalvin Tomlinson.
Nine players already had their bachelor’s degrees before the current season began, including Coker, Kelly and Luatua as well as D.J. Pettway, Chris Black, Bradley Sylve, Jabriel Washington, Richard Mullaney and Adam Griffith.
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