(WTVM) - Auburn fans know Corey Gr ant for his long runs, but perhaps his defining moment on the Plains was a short walk across the graduation stage.
"I walked across the stage and something just ran through my mind like 'Finally done'" gr ant said. "I feel like I had accomplished something." gr ant earned his bachelor's degree May 7th, putting away the pads and helmet for now, and putting on the cap and gown.
"Education's always been important to me," Gr ant said. "It's always been important to my parents and throughout the years as I've grown up, coaches have always harped on getting your education and I think some guys don't realize that football's not going to last forever."
He's busy these days with the Jacksonville Jaguars, and while his teammates enjoyed resting the past two offseasons, Corey spent his springtime at Auburn, going from the film room to the classroom.
"What kind of got me is you get on social media and you see all your teammates vacationing on the beach and I'm sitting in a classroom doing work or at an internship, I'm like, I could be doing that but it paid off, it's going to pay off one day," Gr ant said.
He joins a growing trend in the NFL, players going back to college and earning their degrees, like fellow Tiger Cam Newton. With the average career spanning just three seasons, gr ant's already prepared for life after football just in case.
"Mom and dad both have college degrees and dad played in the pros and eventually that day came and he had something to fall back on," Gr ant said. "It's more to life than football. So when that day comes I want to have something to fall back on."
A native of the valley, the former Opelika running back hopes he can inspire others to earn their degree, and make the same walk across the stage.
"Some guys you may be lucky enough to be a top 10 pick, top 5 pick, and you may be set for life, but football's going to end so enjoy it while it's here and while you're playing, but always have a backup plan for when it ends," Gr ant said.
He's got his bachelor's degree but isn't stopping there. Next step is a master's degree, and he's set a high bar for his career after the NFL.
"I may just want to be an Athletic Director of a college or top high school somewhere," Grant said.
For now, he can put away the school books and go back to his playbook.