Did you know these eight facts about Aaron Jones? Wochit
When Aaron Jones announced he was going pro on the final day of 2016, he knew how much work was lying in front of him.
What may have gotten lost in that, but was never lost to UTEP football's all-time rushing leader, was a promise he made his parents, one that had nothing to do with getting drafted (by the Green Bay Packers as it turned out), making a team or lighting up a football field.
He told them he would get his degree from University of Texas at El Paso.
Less than a year after so many of his other dreams came true, Jones will make good on those words Saturday when he walks across the stage at the Don Haskins Center to get his degree in Multidisciplinary Studies.
UTEP will have three commencement ceremonies on Saturday. The College of Liberal Arts will begin at 9 a.m. The College of Business Administration, College of Education and School of Nursing will walk at 2 p.m. And the College of Engineering, College of Health Sciences and College of Science will graduate at 7 p.m.
"This was always my plan," said Jones, who gets back in town from Green Bay Friday night. "I made my mom and dad a promise I was going to go back and get my degree. I don't make promises to them I don't keep."
That means a lot to Alvin Sr. and Vurgess.
"Everybody else in his family — my wife and I have masters (degrees), his sister and his two brothers have bachelors — he's the last one and this is important to the family," Alvin Sr. said. "This offseason he worked so hard, working on football but also working on school. It says a lot about him."
Jones, who can add UTEP alum to Burges alum, actually didn't come back to get his degree, he got all 18 hours he needed this past semester through the UTEP Connect Online with the help of his advisor Tamika Milligan.
Getting a degree was always part of the plan, Jones said. Even when he was being recruited by former football coach Sean Kugler.
"Coach Kugs told me when I came here I was going to get a degree," Jones said. "I did."
There were also plenty of predictions that he would leave a mark in the NFL and after making the Packers as a fifth-round pick, he rushed for 125 yards against the Dallas Cowboys and 131 against the New Orleans Saints, part of a year where he rushed for 488 yards.
So how did all that, plus the Lambeau Leaps he took, compare to what he's going to do Saturday?
"I don't know," Jones said. "I've never done something like this before. I'm definitely excited, excited for everything about it. I've got it.
"This is a memory no one can take away from me."
Alvin Sr. phrased that same thought another way.
"There's no comparison, this is more important," he said. "I hate to put it this way, but one injury and he could never run the ball again. An education is limitless."
Bret Bloomquist may be reached at 546-6359; email@example.com; @bretbloomquist on Twitter.
Morning Ceremony- 9 a.m.
College of Liberal Arts
Afternoon Ceremony- 2 p.m.
College of Business Administration
College of Education
School of Nursing
Evening Ceremony- 7 p.m.
College of Engineering
College of Health Sciences
College of Science