Kent, Ohio - While all 52 Kent State student-athletes who earned their degrees in ceremonies at the M.A.C. Center Saturday have reason to celebrate, former football standout Usama Young may have traveled the most interesting road of the group.
The Largo, Md. native was a semester short of earning his degree when he was selected in the third round (66th pick overall) of the 2007 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints. However, Young returned to the Kent campus this spring, finishing up the necessary classwork to earn his bachelor's in educational studies with a concentration in physical education.
"It was very important for me to finish what I started," Young said. "My goal from the very beginning was to graduate and I figured it¹s better late than never. I grew up in a home where both parents were educators and I've always believed that without an education I wouldn¹t be where I am on the football field."
Young, whose childhood story of selling snow cones at Washington Redskins home games was chosen as the NFL's "SuperAd" for the 2009 Super Bowl, recently completed his second year with the Saints. He finished the 2008 season with 50 tackles and a pair of interceptions.
"I'm extremely proud of Usama for coming back and finishing his degree," KSU head football coach Doug Martin said. "This was something that was very important to his parents when we signed him out of high school. He is a great example of a young man who is willing to put the time and effort into being successful on an off the field."
A four-year starter at Kent State (2003-06), Young finished his career with 198 tackles (129 solo), three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, nine interceptions, 21 pass break-ups and a blocked kick. Named to the All-MAC second team as a senior, he earned honorable mention Freshman All-America honors from College Football News.