Former Bradwell Institute, Georgia Tech and New England Patriot football player Gary Guyton was one of several former Yellow Jackets who will join 69 other current or former Jacket student-athletes, managers and trainers in graduating Saturday at Georgia Tech’s commencement ceremonies.
Their scholarship opportunities and access to academic support systems at Georgia Tech did not end when their college eligibility expired. The Georgia Tech Athletic Association, the NFL and even the NCAA helped Guyton, Nesbitt, Barnes and other former Jackets fund the final pursuit of degrees.
Guyton, who played for the Jackets from 2004-07, would’ve walked the walk sooner. However, after joining the NFL’s New England Patriots as an undrafted free agent in 2008, he was active for all but one game as a rookie. Although New England missed the playoffs that season, he was busy into what would be the spring semesters at Tech in 2009, 2010 and 2011. That prevented the Hinesville native from working on his degree. In 2012, he remained busy with the Dolphins, Cowboys and Chargers.
By the winter of 2013, Guyton was taking 12 hours at Tech in a program through which the NFL reimburses Guyton for school fees so long as he achieves a B or higher in each class. He had seven hours this spring.
“I wasn’t able to get back to class when [the Pats] made the playoffs,” said the former linebacker, who had 230 combined tackles and assists in the NFL. “I always wanted to get my degree from Tech, but kept missing registration. Having a degree from Georgia Tech and being able to network has been a great experience. It was definitely on my bucket list.”
Guyton hopes to leverage his business administration degree as he tries to start a trucking/logistics company.