May 5, 2014
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Thirteen members of the 2013 Spartan football team participated in spring commencement ceremonies, conducted May 2-4 on the Michigan State University campus: offensive lineman Henry Conway (media and communication technology), cornerback Darqueze Dennard (communication), tight end Michael Dennis (interdisciplinary studies in social science - human capital & society), linebacker Kyler Elsworth (zoology), linebacker Danny Folino (advertising), wide receiver Bennie Fowler (economics), running back Nick Hill (psychology), offensive lineman Travis Jackson (psychology), linebacker Jairus Jones (interdisciplinary studies in social science - human capital & society), offensive guard Connor Kruse (economics), wide receiver Keith Mumphery (communication), fullback Niko Palazeti (psychology) and defensive lineman Mark Scarpinato (kinesiology).
Four of those student-athletes - Hill, Jackson, Kruse and Mumphery - have one year of eligibility remaining.
In his first seven seasons, 82 percent (105 of 128) of his Michigan State players who have completed their eligibility have earned their undergraduate degrees. Eight additional members from Michigan State's 2013 team, which won a school-record 13 games including the Big Ten Championship and 2014 Rose Bowl Games, graduated last December: linebacker Max Bullough (finance), defensive end Denzel Drone (family community services), offensive tackle Fou Fonoti (criminal justice), offensive guard Dan France (hospitality business), offensive tackle Derek Hoebing (interdisciplinary studies in social science - human capital & society), quarterback Andrew Maxwell (marketing), kicker Kevin Muma (hospitality business) and offensive guard Blake Treadwell (sociology). Sixth-year defensive lineman Tyler Hoover (studio art) graduated in December 2012.
"Graduation is something that our seniors have dreamt about for the last four or five years," Dantonio said. "They have managed to master the balancing act of managing their seasons as football players while investing the time and effort to succeed in the classroom. There's no question that this college degree is going to have the greatest impact on their lives. Ultimately, that's why they came to college. Their hard work has paid off, and we're extremely proud and happy for these student-athletes and their families.
"We tell prospects that we will support them in their efforts to pursue excellence, both in the classroom and on the playing field, as we build relationships that will last well beyond their playing careers. We especially want to congratulate our graduating seniors because when they return to campus, wearing their Big Ten and Rose Bowl Championship rings they'll also be able to take their families by the championship plaques outside Spartan Stadium. They truly were the ones, and this was their destiny from day one."
"Mark Dantonio and his coaching staff have made a commitment to graduating student-athletes," MSU Director of Academic Services Todd Edwards said. "That commitment begins from the first minute of recruiting contact and it continues throughout the student-athlete's playing career and beyond. He rarely conducts a team meeting where that commitment to education isn't emphasized or reinforced. Coach Dantonio and his coaching staff don't pay lip service to academic success; they're truly committed to it. The student-athletes are held accountable for their work in the academic arena, and the staff provides positive reinforcement by recognizing guys for a job well done.
"It was a satisfying and gratifying weekend indeed as these student-athletes achieved an important milestone in their lives."