GT Pros Who Return to Tech to Finish

Bruce Wayne

Helluva Engineer
Messages
1,870
While working on a Senior Appreciation thread for Synjyn I read this:

"Days said drills and techniques he learned at Tech with quarterbacks and B-backs coach Bryan Cook, graduate assistant Steven Sylvester and former Tech fullback Mike Cox, who has returned to campus to complete his degree, were similar to those he has practiced at the all-star workouts."

I have a very unscientific impression that Tech is a football program which routinely draws back its pros to complete their degrees at rates higher than any number of assorted other college football programs. Does anyone else have that impression? I would love to see a study on the percentage of pro athletes who either finished their degree before leaving Tech or complete it after turning pro versus the percentages of similar athletes from a selection of factories and other programs Tech competes with in recruiting.

Since my anecdotal impression is more than enough to "run with" an idea in the message board world, I make the following claims:

1) Tech offers undergraduate degrees of such value that even our football pros want to return and complete their degrees at a high rate.

2) Tech is located in a perfect place for former players who want to continue their education or simply have access to fantastic training facilities during their offseason workouts. Look at how often Calvin Johnson trains at Tech and how he even brings his NFL QB (ex-UGA player) with him. That means they don't go up to Athens, which brings me to point three.

3) Tech is located in a city that is very easy to travel in and out of (not talking about rush hour traffic but about being an airline transit hub) and still economically friendly for a large-sized city, so conducive to maintaining a residence even as a professional player in other cities or to our former pros just returning for short stints to train or attend class.

Clearly, recruiting rules prohibit any untoward use of a school's professional alumni athletes to go after high school kids. I am not talking much about the "oh look over there high school recruit . . . it's Calvin Johnson running routes with Matt Stafford in our indoor practice facility!"

My point is about an additional layer of positive attributes that the Tech football program has to point out when selling itself. Certainly the kind of academically competitive kids Tech recruits is somewhat self-selecting for the program to end up seeing many of its pro athletes return to finish degrees. However, this fact can then be utilized to promote an increase in that same culture and so is one more way to appeal to the bright academic high school recruit who also has serious pro aspirations.
 

forensicbuzz

Helluva Engineer
Messages
5,218
Location
North Shore, Chicago
I think you touched on both points why many former athletes come back. I'm sure other schools have their share, but let's say you went to Auburn or Alabama or uga. These schools are in "college towns" where, outside of school, there's little else to do. There is relatively no anonymity for the pro athlete, and a much higher chance of being recognized and molested (non-sexually, thank you). Atlanta is a much easier place to "hide" your celebrity. In addition, if you're living in San Francisco or Seattle or Denver or NYC or where ever, there are equally acceptable state or local universities from which they can finish their degree. Those who went to Tech recognize that they can't just go across town and get a degree with the same name recognition as coming back to Tech. There's not much difference between University of Washington, University of Alabama, most of the California university system (with exceptions noted), but there aren't too many option equivalents if you went to Tech. Plus it has great facilities and is probably free for the returning athletes.
 

LarryMunson

Jolly Good Fellow
Messages
179
+1

I had the privilege of working with Scott Sisson during capstone senior classes. He returned to complete his degree after his pro stint.
 

dtm1997

Helluva Engineer
Featured Member
Messages
13,849
Last night I saw a commercial for University of Phoenix featuring Larry Fitzgerald, talking about getting his degree. One of Pitt's greatest players is wrapping up his degree online instead of going back to Pittsburgh in the off season.

Given that as a viable option, we've still got guys coming back instead.

I love seeing that and we see it a lot.
 

Bruce Wayne

Helluva Engineer
Messages
1,870
@dtm1997 thanks for the anecdote of Fitzgerald not completing at Pitt. I would be very interested to find that someone has gathered the data for a bunch of schools to compare. It just feels like Tech is a place that really calls out to its pro athletes to complete there degrees at a higher rate than other colleges. I know that Jarrett Jack finished up recently to complete a promise he made to his mom. So, certainly, Tech is going to start off by attracting the kind of high school athletes who take education seriously or have parents who really stress its value. But it is still a quality aspect of the Institute and program to foster this behavior and also point it out in recruiting sales pitches.
 

danny daniel

Helluva Engineer
Messages
2,223
@dtm1997 thanks for the anecdote of Fitzgerald not completing at Pitt. I would be very interested to find that someone has gathered the data for a bunch of schools to compare. It just feels like Tech is a place that really calls out to its pro athletes to complete there degrees at a higher rate than other colleges. I know that Jarrett Jack finished up recently to complete a promise he made to his mom. So, certainly, Tech is going to start off by attracting the kind of high school athletes who take education seriously or have parents who really stress its value. But it is still a quality aspect of the Institute and program to foster this behavior and also point it out in recruiting sales pitches.

Maybe with some good marketing we can turn this perceived Tech academic disadvantage in recruiting into an advantage, when you look at the total Tech picture of "do right".
 

Bruce Wayne

Helluva Engineer
Messages
1,870
I hope the Tech recruiting staff does play up this facet of the program, I would think they do actually. I imagine it as useful for the recruiters to keep it in mind as a way to really sell Tech to both an "education-first" recruit or "education-first" parents but more importantly it could appeal to a kid who is kind of borderline or wishy-washy about prioritizing education first.

If you get a good academic kid but who is really driven to make the pros then they could easily tell themselves "well, I can get a good education anywhere because I am a good student and naturally bright, however, I am really concerned about getting a honest chance at the NFL." Such a kid could be swayed by the pomp and stats of a factory that takes in a dozen 4 and 5 stars each year and has a dozen kids drafted or signed as free agents each off-season. So this is an argument to try and win over a recruit like that . . . compare how many of those pros at the other schools go back to finish their degrees at Bama or wherever versus how many come back to Tech. Tech rightfully says it offers the "best of both worlds" and this seems to me like a way to at least rhetorically "prove" it.
 

cyptomcat

Ramblin' Wreck
Messages
866
Last night I saw a commercial for University of Phoenix featuring Larry Fitzgerald, talking about getting his degree. One of Pitt's greatest players is wrapping up his degree online instead of going back to Pittsburgh in the off season.

Given that as a viable option, we've still got guys coming back instead.

I love seeing that and we see it a lot.
My guess is that he is getting paid for that.
 

TheSilasSonRising

Helluva Engineer
Messages
3,729
Last night I saw a commercial for University of Phoenix featuring Larry Fitzgerald, talking about getting his degree. One of Pitt's greatest players is wrapping up his degree online instead of going back to Pittsburgh in the off season.

Given that as a viable option, we've still got guys coming back instead.

I love seeing that and we see it a lot.

Ummm, I think we have a former basketball great doing what Fitzgerald is doing as well.
 

IEEEWreck

Ramblin' Wreck
Messages
600
All of these things are true, but I strongly suspect that it has a lot to do with knowing in your heart of hearts that you got out. No online degree is going to replace that in the self-esteem department.
 
Top