Dec. 9, 2004
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – They were like small kids again, giggling and smiling as if they just received their first bicycle or a gift they’ve always dreamed of.
Thirteen Florida State Seminole football players carefully slipped on their caps and gowns and amassed as one at the Great Hall yesterday to take pictures as the Florida State Football Class of 2004. They each smiled proudly as if this was their finest moment.
“I made a promise to myself, my family and Coach Bowden that I would leave FSU with a degree,” said junior center David Castillo, who will receive a degree in Exercise Physiology Saturday at Florida State’s Commencement Ceremony. “It’s an honor to say I played football at Florida State, but more of honor to say I graduated from here.”
Of the 13 graduates, Castillo is the only player returning next year after the NCAA awarded him with a medical hardship redshirt season last year. The rest of the Seminoles will bid farewell to the school at the Gator Bowl on New Year’s Day.
“I think graduating means a lot more to me than the average person,” said senior wide receiver Chauncey Stovall, “because a lot of people didn’t think I could even graduate from high school. I fulfilled one of my dreams by playing football at Florida State and now I’ve achieved my ultimate dream by graduating from college.
According to Stovall, things seem easy to him now, but there was a time when graduating seemed almost impossible.
“It was very hard for me early on,” said Stovall. “It came to a point where I had to sit down and evaluate what I wanted to do with my life because school wasn’t my top priority, so I had to change my way of thinking. I was just looking at something the other night about athletes and graduation numbers, and it’s good to know that Florida State has so many athletes that finish school. I’m just really proud to say I’m one of them.”
Alex Barron, Chauncey Davis, Travis Johnson, Bobby Meeks, Chris Rix, Leroy Smith, Stovall, and Ray Willis will earn degrees in social science. Brett Cimorelli will take away a finance degree, Claudius Osei will earn a real estate degree and B.J. Ward is a criminology major.
A total of 31 FSU student-athletes are set to graduate Saturday.
Bryant McFadden, who will earn an art degree Saturday, will be Florida State’s honoree as the “Gator Bowl Scholar Athlete” this year.
“I’m just really happy to graduate and excited for my family because I know this is what they wanted,” said McFadden. “It feels like all those years of hard work will finally pay off and I’m looking forward to using my degree someday in the future.”
The football freshmen class of 2000 came in with a total of 16 student-athletes and 11 of them will have graduated by this weekend. Two others are scheduled to walk next semester. The freshmen class of 2001 had 26 football student-athletes and 20 are on track to earn their degree next year.
“When the graduation song starts playing Saturday, I think it will really hit me,” said Rix. “My whole family will be here and everyone will be cheering, but not like for a football game. This is an even bigger event and accomplishment. I’m really excited and I’m ready to move on to the next season of my life. I’m very thankful for the education Florida State has given me over the years.”
The Florida State fall commencement ceremony takes place Saturday, December 11, beginning at 9:00 a.m. at the Donald L. Tucker Center.
Quarterback Wyatt Sexton was recently inducted into the Golden Key International Honor Society and was the “Golden Torch” award winner for football with the highest individual cumulative GPA with a 3.766.
FSU Football Class of 2004
Alex Barron, Social Science
David Castillo, Exercise Physiology
Brett Cimorelli, Finance
Chauncey Davis, Social Science
Travis Johnson, Social Science
Bryant McFadden, Art
Bobby Meeks, Social Science
Claudius Osei, Real Estate
Chris Rix, Social Science
Leroy Smith, Social Science
Chauncey Stovall, Social Science
B.J. Ward, Criminology
Ray Willis, Social Science