Nashville, Tenn. - In a 2008 release of the NCAA Graduation Success Rate Study, Tennessee State University's student-athlete graduation rate was 85 percent and listed in the top-three among colleges in Tennessee.
Among the 25 student-athletes graduating on Saturday (5/8), Tiger football player, Javier Jackson, will receive a B.S. in Health Sciences after completing his course work in three years with a 3.53 grade point average.
It's not uncommon for student-athletes to graduate in less than four years. However, with the rigors of practice schedules and classes, it is rare to see an athlete plan to complete his degree early.
"Entering college I planned on graduating in three years. However, many people told me it would be impossible because of the demanding schedule of football," said Jackson. "I figured if I took 16 hours a semester and take three classes for two summers I would graduate in three years."
Even with TSU's Department of Athletics academic advisers monitoring student-athletes' performance, Jackson was able to complete pre-requisite courses during the summer.
"I had him on a three and a half-year track and he snuck a few extra classes in and passed them all", said Associate Director for Academic Services Dr. Johnnie Smith. "I am so proud of Javier’s early graduation accomplishment; he has proven that balancing academics and athletics can be done successfully within a timely manner. I will use him as a motivator for other student-athletes."
Jackson received the Academic Star Award last month at the TSU Athletic Banquet. A native of Memphis, Tenn., Jackson played in nine games this past season averaging 23.7 yards per reception as a wide receiver and 12 yards per return.
He will be a redshirt junior next season on the football field after walking on his freshman year. A graduate of Kirby High School, Jackson made the All-Metro and All- District Teams finishing with more than 1, 200 passing and 800 rushing yards. He graduated fourth in his class with a 4.3 GPA.
As a presidential scholar, Jackson plans on enrolling into classes while using his last two years of eligibility in football.
"In the ideal world I would have enrolled right into graduate school seeking my doctoral degree in physical therapy. However, I did not get in, so, I plan on coming back next year and picking up two minors, one in psychology and one in business," said Jackson. "I have been on presidential scholarship and will be receiving a scholarship next year. I plan to enroll in graduaute school in the summer of 2010."
Other Tennessee State University student-athletes graduating in May commencement:
Stephen Evans (Men's Basketball-IDS), Samuel Houston (Men's Basketball-IDS), Jacqueline Oliveira (Women's Basketball-IDS), Kendra Appling (Women's Basketball-IDS), Kierra Goodwin (Women's Basketball-Health Sciences), Charisse Hicks (Women's Basketball-IDS), Obiageli Okafor (Women's Basketball-Psychology), Brandon Blackmon (Football-IDS), Carl Buford (Football-Communications), Riley Howard (Football-Human Performance & Sports Sciences), Javier Jackson (Football-Health Sciences), Reginald Moore (Football-Criminal Justice), Jamal Ruffin (Football-IDS), James Springfield (Football-IDS), Larry Williford (Football-Human Performance & Sports Sciences), Kellen Woodard (Football-Criminal Justice), Samuel Betts (Men’s Track and Field-Human Performance & Sports Sciences), Isaiah Marshall (Men’s Track and Field-Health Sciences), Ashley Copeland (Women’s Track and Field-Criminal Justice), Rahab Kagaruki (Women’s Track and Field-Psychology), Danielle Stewart (Women’s Golf-Human Performance & Sports Sciences), Melanie Cruz (Softball-Biology), Royesha Goodman (Softball-Business), Michael Mosely (Men’s Tennis-Business), Dania Lofton (Women’s Tennis-English).