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Thread: Draft Class Makes The Grade
Draft Class Makes The Grade
Friday, May 15, 2009
By Nick Wagoner
As teams around the league prepare to begin their organized team activities in the coming weeks, some must plan their workouts without a full complement of players.
By league rule, many rookies will sit out at least a portion of their team’s offseason program because of academic responsibilities. The Rams will have no such problems with their draft class because each member of that group has made the grade.
As of May 8, all seven members of the draft class have either earned their degrees or are within a few credit hours of completing them.
“That is impressive,” coach Steve Spagnuolo said. “I am glad to hear that. That’s encouraging.”
According to the league rules, a drafted player may not participate in team activities – with the exception of the rookie minicamp – until his college has completed final exams.
In situations where a player has already completed his degree, he is not allowed to report to his respective team until Saturday.
Fortunately for the Rams, their draft class’ academic prowess will allow all seven members to be in St. Louis in time for the start of organized team activities on Tuesday as well as the final minicamp scheduled for June 4-6.
Six members of the team’s draft class have already completed their schooling. Jason Smith (recreation and leisure services), James Laurinaitis (communications), Bradley Fletcher (African-American studies), Brooks Foster (Management and society), Keith Null (sports and exercise science) and Chris Ogbonnaya (history) have already finished their degrees.
That leaves defensive tackle Darell Scott as the only one without a degree and he is expected to finish up soon. Because Clemson has already had graduation ceremonies and finals, Scott will be available to participate at next week’s O.T.A.’s.
Many members of that group, including Smith and Ogbonnaya actually finished their degrees in 2008 and have completed at least a portion of graduate level classes.
“It's very important,” Smith said. “For my grandmother, for me and for the program, I wanted to graduate. But overall I did it so fast because I was ready to get to the NFL.”
Still, Smith returned to Baylor despite graduating so early to finish his football career. In the meantime, he furthered his education by taking graduate school classes.
And though it was important for Smith to become the No. 2 pick in the draft, he says earning that degree could ultimately be his most prized accomplishment.
“They're both right up there,” Smith said. “But realistically, I believe the graduation part is more important because there's a lot of people that start something and never finish it. But I was one of those guys that I was gonna finish what I start.”
The education of the St. Louis Rams off the field hasn’t been limited to new additions this offseason, either.
Safety Oshiomogho Atogwe participated in the league’s Business Management and Entrepreneurial Program at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in March.
The Kellogg program focused on developing and selling a brand and evaluating franchise opportunities. It provides a foundation for recognizing sound marketing plans and preparing players to ask key questions when analyzing opportunities.
In addition, long snapper Chris Massey and safety Craig Dahl recently finished up their college degrees.
Spagnuolo said he would like to find ways to better accommodate players who are attempting to complete their degrees and has begun taking steps to look into it.
Recently, Spagnuolo asked Football Operations director Bruce Warwick to begin looking into area schools that could offer classes later in the day for players to finish up their degrees when they are done with their day’s work at the Russell Training Center.
“You can find a window in there,” Spagnuolo said. “(He) researched the schools in this area that would offer classes from noon time past so that next year when we are looking at the offseason program – we get everything done by noon time – they could actually take some classes. You have to get the old will it transfer back but you can find ways to get six credits or eight credits to get that done. I don’t know enough about each university but I guess technically when you get to the end you are looking to take courses in your major so it might be a bit of a snag there but I was encouraged to hear that about a couple of our guys getting it done.”
Re: Draft Class Makes The Grade
Six members of the team’s draft class have already completed their schooling. Jason Smith (recreation and leisure services), James Laurinaitis (communications), Bradley Fletcher (African-American studies), Brooks Foster (Management and society), Keith Null (sports and exercise science) and Chris Ogbonnaya (history) have already finished their degrees
What the hell is "recreation and leisure services"? Is he looking to be a concierge after football.
-05-15-2009 #4Registered User
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-05-15-2009 #6Registered User
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Re: Draft Class Makes The Grade
Besides, with all the money Smith will probably earn, his papers were more likely about how many franchise restaurants should you buy at once or how to keep your agent/money people from ripping you off for millions than about concierge services or the rules of shuffleboard.
I bet there'd be no pillow fights in Counselor Jason's cabin,at any rate.....
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