AUBURN, Ala. — Chad Slade and Jermaine Whitehead had no time to rest Saturday.
As soon as the senior duo picked up their diplomas, they ditched their caps and gowns for their football uniforms. That meant Slade, entering his fourth year as a starter on the offensive line, had little time to set aside for his family.
Such is the life of a football player.
"They understand that I've got to come back for football, and I told them about it. It's just the job you have to do," he said Saturday following the Tigers' second practice of the fall. "It didn't bother me as much, but I just have to do what I have to do."
Slade majored in higher education sports management. This fall, he plans to enroll in graduate school.
"That's pretty much everything I'm going to do starting off in the fall," he said. "Take classes just in case I go train somewhere after the season, (so) I can at least have a few credits done to come back and get my master's degree."
Slade, who started all 14 games at right guard last season, is set to move to left guard this year. It was announced Friday that Alex Kozan, the starter at left guard in 2013, would miss the upcoming season after having back surgery.
Whitehead, who was awarded his degree in accounting, is expected to start at free safety this fall.
"I'm very excited for those guys," coach Gus Malzahn said. "I was here when they got here at Auburn, I watched them grow up through the process. They both have great families, so (it was) a big day for them."