Mike Davis of Columbia, a running back for the Gamecocks’ football team, proudly displayed his jersey number, 25, -- using masking tape on the back of his black robe. He’s headed to the Buffalo Bills on May 19, hoping for a coveted career in the NFL.
Few were more jubilant than Davis, who walked through the crowd shaking hands.
“It means a lot to me to be here today,” said Davis, who earned a bachelor’s degree in criminology and plans to pursue a master’s in psychology one day. “So many great athletes have been here. So many great students have been here and are here today. To be in the same room with them is great.”
The day was one for personal satisfaction.
“A lot of people never expected me to graduate,” he said. “I’m an athlete. I went to a high school that doesn’t have a lot of college graduates. But I was determined to finish, and I did.”
Tyler Lamb of Columbia took two years off during his college career to work and focus on what he wanted to do with his education.
“Today is a relief,” said Lamb, who earned a bachelor’s degree in political science.