Former Vols C.J. Watson, Gibril Wilson and Turk McBride among 62 new UT graduates

Our goal is to build champions while winning championships, and these student-athletes exemplify that mission.

Joan Cronan, Tennessee women's athletics director

Former Tennessee guard C.J. Watson brings the ball upcourt for the Chicago Bulls during their playoff game with the Atlanta Hawks on May 4.

Former Tennessee guard C.J. Watson brings the ball upcourt for the Chicago Bulls during their playoff game with the Atlanta Hawks on May 4.

Former Tennessee defensive lineman Turk McBride tackles Minnesota's Adrian Peterson for Detroit during the Lions-Vikings game in Detroit in 2011.

Former Tennessee defensive lineman Turk McBride tackles Minnesota's Adrian Peterson for Detroit during the Lions-Vikings game in Detroit in 2011.

Former Tennessee defensive back Gibril Wilson sacks New York Jets' quarterback Mark Sanchez for Miami during the Dolphins' 30-25 win at New York in 2009.

Former Tennessee defensive back Gibril Wilson sacks New York Jets' quarterback Mark Sanchez for Miami during the Dolphins' 30-25 win at New York in 2009.

Sixty-two University of Tennessee student-athletes are participating this week in graduation ceremonies that began Wednesday and continue through Saturday. These graduates are on track to complete their degrees either this week or after summer semester.

“I’m extremely proud of our student-athletes that are graduating this weekend,” said director of women’s athletics Joan Cronan. “Our goal is to build champions while winning championships, and these student-athletes exemplify that mission, both in the classroom and the athletic arena.”

“This weekend is about the great accomplishment of all our graduates at the University of Tennessee,” said director of men’s athletics Mike Hamilton. “For our student-athletes, they have worked extremely hard in the classroom and should be very proud of earning their degrees.”

This year’s graduates include Turk McBride, C.J. Watson and Gibril Wilson, three former student-athletes who returned to campus and completed their degree requirements through the Thornton Center’s Renewing Academic Commitment (RAC) program. Wilson lettered in football in the 2002-03 seasons. McBride and Watson were captains for their respective sports of football and men’s basketball, and both earned varsity letters from 2003-06.

The RAC program assists former student-athletes by providing advice on remaining degree requirements, course scheduling, tutoring, employment and internship opportunities, as well as use of the Thornton Center for their everyday needs.

Baseball: Rob Catapano, Political Science; Tyler Horne, Psychology; D.J. Leffler, Master’s in Education

Men’s Basketball: Josh Bone, Psychology; John Fields, Master’s in Sports Psychology; Melvin Goins, Sociology; C.J. Watson, Psychology (RAC); Brian Williams, Communication Studies

Women’s Basketball: Angie Bjorklund, Psychology; Kelley Cain, Marketing; Glory Johnson, Global Studies; Sydney Smallbone, Marketing and Logistics

Football: Minor Bowens*, Logistics; Sam Edgmon, Sport Management; Chris Eggert, Sport Management; Art Evans, Africana Studies; C.J. Fleming, Sociology Criminal Justice; Nick Guess, Logistics; Austin Johnson, Communication Studies; Ben Lehning, Sport Management; T.J. Marrs, Logistics & Transportation; Turk McBride, Sociology Criminal Justice (RAC); Tauren Poole, Sport Management; Shane Reveiz, Communication Studies; Daryl Vereen, Psychology; Gibril Wilson, Sociology (RAC)

Women’s Golf: Lauren Spurlock, Sport Management; Rebecca Watson, Management

Rowing: Marissa Bell, Journalism and Electronic Media; Rachel Dooley, Journalism and Electronic Media; Ruth Ann Johnson, Global Studies; Samantha Sedgwick, Animal Science; Melissa Toms, Journalism and Electronic Media

Soccer: Molly Delk, Exercise Science; Julie Edwards, Logistics; Tanya Emerson, Child and Family Studies; Anna Fisher, Sociology

Softball: Tiffany Huff, Master’s in Education

Men’s Swimming and Diving: Mike DeRocco, Judaic Studies and Religious Studies; Sean Letsinger, Sport Management; Derek Paul, Finance; Geoff Sanders, Chemical Engineering; Chris Winchell, Marketing;Michael Wright, Studio Art

Women’s Swimming: Farrell, Psychology; Jill Pierce, College Scholars

Men’s Tennis: Boris Conkic, Sport Management; Matteo Fago, Economics; John-Patrick Smith, Economics

Women’s Tennis: Rosalia Alda, Spanish; Jennifer Meredith, Sport Management

Men’s Track and Field: Alan Bachman, Psychology; Minor Bowens*, Logistics; Chris Rapp, Civil Engineering; >Peter Sigilai, Psychology; Michael Spooner, Communication Studies

Women’s Track and Field: Chardae Hancock, Political Science; Brittany Jones, Social Work; Holly Kane, Journalism & Electronic Media; Brittany Sheffey, Political Science; Kim White, Sociology Criminal Justice

Volleyball: Nikki Fowler, Marketing; Emily Steinbeck, Kinesiology

*Bowens participated in both football and track and field.

© 2011 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 4

volguy#211935 writes:

This is what college is all about! Congrats to all the graduates!

mhsvol writes:

“For our student-athletes, they have worked extremely hard in the classroom and should be very proud of earning their degrees.”

So, what's the big deal? Did these kids work any harder than the typical student, who doesn't have a free ride or all the tutoring he or she needs?

Seems like the university has it backwards - they ought to publicize the achievements of the students who work multiple jobs and have to take several years to earn their degrees because they're paying as they go. But, we all understand that this is a transparent ploy to prop up the UTAD.

Couchdummy writes:

in response to mhsvol:

“For our student-athletes, they have worked extremely hard in the classroom and should be very proud of earning their degrees.”

So, what's the big deal? Did these kids work any harder than the typical student, who doesn't have a free ride or all the tutoring he or she needs?

Seems like the university has it backwards - they ought to publicize the achievements of the students who work multiple jobs and have to take several years to earn their degrees because they're paying as they go. But, we all understand that this is a transparent ploy to prop up the UTAD.

This is a sports feature (in the KNS newspaper) dedicated to UT athletics, not focused upon the full student body. My gosh, this article celebrates their successful pursuit of academic goals and I applaud them! I suggest that you hunt for another parade to rain upon.

budd#207344 writes:

in response to mhsvol:

“For our student-athletes, they have worked extremely hard in the classroom and should be very proud of earning their degrees.”

So, what's the big deal? Did these kids work any harder than the typical student, who doesn't have a free ride or all the tutoring he or she needs?

Seems like the university has it backwards - they ought to publicize the achievements of the students who work multiple jobs and have to take several years to earn their degrees because they're paying as they go. But, we all understand that this is a transparent ploy to prop up the UTAD.

I worked my way thru school and paid student loans for several years after graduating. However, it was not the student athletes fault that my family did not have the resources to pay my way or I did not have the skills to earn a scholarship. But knowing a few of the players at that time I know they worked as hard at their sport as I did to earn my money. So when they succeed I am as happy as I would be for a working student. Because they have learned the value of education and hard work. And that is always good for us all. Your complaint needs to go to the academic administration for not extolling the gradutes. Not the UTAD for doing so

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