COLUMBUS, Ohio – Nine Ohio State Buckeye football players or former players received their degrees today in spring commencement exercises held at Ohio Stadium. A record 12,213 degrees and certificates were awarded. Fareed Zakaria, host of Fareed Zakaria GPS for CNN Worldwide and columnist for The Washington Post, gave the commencement address.
Buckeyes receiving their degrees this afternoon in front of close to 60,000 friends and families of the graduates include five current members of the football team:
• Branden Bowen – Vying to become a starter once again on the offensive line, Bowen received his degree in human development and family studies. He is from Draper, Utah.
• Justin Hilliard – A standout on virtually every special teams unit last season, Hilliard now has a bachelor’s degree in marketing. He is from Cincinnati.
• Antwuan Jackson – A reserve defensive tackle from Ellenwood, Ga., Jackson earned his degree in human development and family studies.
• Liam McCullough – Entering his fourth season as the team’s long snapper for all kicks and punts, McCullough received his degree in finance. He is from Columbus.
• C.J. Saunders – A standout from Dublin, Ohio, who earned a scholarship and has caught 27 passes for 294 yards, Saunders received his degree in accounting.
— Ohio State Football (@OhioStateFB) May 5, 2019
Another Dublin native, Nick Connor, hasn’t played for several years because of injury, and today he received his bachelor’s degree in logistics management. And former kicker and Big Ten Conference Distinguished Scholar Bryan Kristan, of Canfield, Ohio, received his degree in finance.
81st & 82nd degree completion program graduates
Two more former Buckeyes received their degrees today through the athletic department’s degree completion program: Nick Mangold (operations management) and Santonio Holmes (family resource management). Both had long and successful NFL careers after leaving Ohio State following the 2004 and 2005 seasons, respectively, and now they become the 81st and 82nd graduates of the 25-year-old program that provides academic and tuition support to former Ohio State student-athletes who left the university without completing their degrees. Across all sports, the program is nearing 200 such graduates.
Graduates who purchased cap and gowns from Barnes & Noble marched in sustainable caps and gowns made from material consisting of 100 percent recycled plastic bottles, according to Ohio State News reporter Amy Murray. They have the option of returning them for reuse and recycle, as well.