Trojans to honor graduates in Orlando

While most Troy University seniors that are graduating at the end of the Fall semester will be walking across the stage on campus on Friday, Dec. 16, Troy’s football players will be battling UTSA in the Cure Bowl.

Troy Football’s seniors won’t get the chance to walk across the stage on campus with their fellow classmates, Troy Athletics will still be hosting a special supplemental graduation ceremony at Universal CityWalk in Orlando, Fla., on Thursday night ahead of the bowl game. The football players and members of the Sound of the South band that are graduating will have their degrees conferred by Troy University Chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins Jr. on stage.

“It’s going to be a really neat environment for them,” Troy coach Jon Sumrall said. “It’s a pretty cool and unique experience and one they will probably remember maybe even more than the people that go through the formal graduation will remember.

“Our goals here are to graduate people to life and make sure they get their degree, win championships and earn the respect of the campus and community. That’s the first thing we talk about; the floor in our program is getting your degree. That’s just the starting point and we’re proud of these young men and I think this is going to be a very cool experience for them.”

Troy senior Will Choloh said while it’s disappointing to not get to walk across the stage with his classmates, he knows Troy Athletics will make the ceremony a special one for the football team and band.

“It’s going to be special doing it down there,” Choloh said. “It kind of sucks that we don’t get to walk at Troy. My mom is a little disappointed about that but she’s happy we’re playing in a good bowl game.

“Troy and the staff and the guys behind the scene make sure to keep everything rolling and are really professional and I know whatever they have planned for us down there will be top tier.”

Sumrall said Troy’s seniors are the biggest reason the Trojans are Sun Belt Champions and playing UTSA in the bowl game, so he’s glad the program gets to recognize them before the game.

“They are the reason we’re here, they’re the reason we are where we are,” Sumrall said. “They returned and created instant buy-in with our locker room and upheld the standard in terms of an accountability standpoint.

“I’m going to miss them. I wish I could get a sixth or seventh or eighth year with those guys but I’m so grateful for their contributions and you cannot understate what they mean to this program and what they mean to me personally. To see them leave this program better than they found it – or at least on equal footing from when they got here – means they have set tremendous examples for everyone in our program.”