Fifty years ago, a student-athlete named Nicholas Lou Saban, Jr. participated in graduation at Kent State University. He received his bachelor’s degree in 1973 with a major in business.  

On Saturday, Saban attended graduation with 15 of his football players who are getting degrees from the University of Alabama.

A total of 34 scholarship student-athletes are receiving their UA degrees:

Sarah Ashlee Barker – Women’s Basketball 

Aaliyah Nye – Women’s Basketball

James Brockermeyer - Football

Justin Eboigbe - Football

Thomas Fletcher - Football

Kyle Flood Jr. - Football

Kneeland Hibbett - Football

Thaiu Jones-Bell - Football

Jah-Maien Latham - Football

Trezmen Marshall - Football

Kool-Aid McKinstry - Football

Seth McLaughin - Football

Jalen Milroe - Football

Will Reichard - Football

Tim Smith - Football

Kristian Story - Football

Bennett Whisenhunt - Football

Canon Claycomb - Men’s Golf

Hannah Alexander - Soccer

Kate Henderson - Soccer

Felicia Knox - Soccer

Sasha Pickard - Soccer

Dylan Pixton - Soccer

Bella Scaturro Bright - Soccer

Gessica Skorka - Soccer

Jaala Torrence - Softball

Jake Marcum - Swimming

Eliud Kipsang - Men’s Track & Field, Cross Country

Matt Weaver - Men’s Track & Field

Bianca Carroccio - Women’s Track & Field

Amara Obi - Women’s Track & Field

Riley White - Women’s Track & Field

Sami Jacobs – Volleyball

Victoria Schmer - Volleyball

Notable graduates include six members of the soccer program who won the SEC in 2022 and made the Final Four.

Fifteen of the graduates are from this year’s Southeastern Conference Championship team and College Football Playoff team. Three earned Master’s degrees: Seth McLaughlin (offensive lineman), Will Reichard (kicker) and Justin Eboigbe (defensive lineman).

Thomas Fletcher, a former Crimson Tide long snapper, returned to school to finish his Master’s degree. Fletcher, a member of Alabama’s 2017 recruiting class, has two CFP National Championship rings. He was selected in the 2021 NFL Draft by the Carolina Panthers.

The football players are now out of class but will return to practice as they prepare to meet the University of Michigan in the Rose Bowl on January 1 in the College Football Playoffs semi-final. The winner goes to the national championship game on January 8 in Houston to face the winner of No. 2 Washington versus No. 3 Texas. 

Some excellent quotes from Saban in his book "How Good Do You Want to Be?: A Champion's Tips on How to Lead and Succeed at Work and in Life":

“No matter what your chosen profession, be prepared for opportunity and be willing to take it—your destiny may depend on it.”

“Talent is putting skills into productive use.”

“Don’t wait to see, you must decide if the battle is worth your time and effort. In your life, only you can decide what is worth going to battle for, keeping in mind what may be sacrificed in the process.”

Jim Zeigler is a former Alabama Public Service Commissioner and State Auditor. You can reach him for comments at [email protected].

Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.