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Former Jaguars RB Fred Taylor got his Florida degree 26 years after leaving for NFL

May 6th, 2024

Longtime Jacksonville Jaguars running back Fred Taylor received his college degree at Florida last weekend. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)

Fred Taylor is 48 years old. He had an excellent 13-year NFL career as a star running back in which he earned almost $41 million. He was just a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Technically there was no need for Taylor to ever finish his college degree. But he had a promise to fulfill.

Taylor finished the final class he needed to graduate from the University of Florida with a sociology degree, and over the weekend he received his degree in Florida’s commencement ceremony. It came more than 26 years after Taylor left Florida for the NFL Draft. He was a first-round pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars and became a franchise legend. Taylor gained 11,695 career rushing yards.

That’s a great accomplishment, and the story behind Taylor returning to school is even better.

Taylor’s grandmother Rosetta Lusane, who raised Taylor, was suffering with dementia and other health issues last year. In his grandmother’s final days, Taylor promised her he’d finish his college degree according to the University of Florida’s official site. Taylor’s grandmother died on Oct. 31.

“She did smile after I said it,” Taylor said, according to the UF site. “Sometimes she would smile when she would get those glimpses of remembrance. Every now and then she would recognize the voice, the kiss, the smell. ‘I’m not going to break that promise. I’m going to go and graduate.’ I’m about to tear up right now.”

Taylor signed up for the final course he needed and didn’t tell anyone, including his wife. He didn’t tell his wife until three or four weeks after classes started because he didn’t want to start and back out.

“After I got rolling and I got past the drop-add period, it was go-time,” Taylor told the UF site. “I buckled down and got it done.”

The UF story said Fred’s son, Kelvin, who also played running back at Florida, told his dad he had enrolled at UF to finish his degree. Fred’s youngest son, Austin, will enroll at Florida this summer.

It took a long time after Taylor left school for him to earn his degree. But it’s an impressive addition to his accomplishments.

This content was originally sourced and posted at Yahoo! Sports – News, Scores, Standings, Rumors, Fantasy Games »
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