Marcus Maye declined invitation to NFL draft so he could walk in graduation

Marcus Maye

Former Florida Gators safety Marcus Maye has a very good reason for turning down an invitation to attend the 2017 NFL Draft.

He made a promise to his mother that he’d walk during his graduation ceremony, which takes place this Saturday.

“If I make a promise to anybody I want to follow it through — and this one was to my mom,” said Maye, who completed work toward a degree in African American Studies and will make that unforgettable walk (with Mom in the house, of course) Saturday morning, per Harry Fodder of the school’s website. “No one in my immediate family has graduated from college. The fact she wanted me to do that — not just play football, but also graduate — has been in the back of mind and knowing that the last year has always been a motivation for me.”

As one of the top safeties in the upcoming draft class, Maye is expected to be drafted in the second round. During his four-year tenure at Florida, Maye racked up 210 career tackles, including 24 for loss, six interceptions, 27 passes defensed and six forced fumbles. He’s a hard-hitting, instinctive player who could make an immediate impact in the NFL, depending on where he lands.

Though he’s not attending the draft, Maye wanted to make sure whichever team does select him he’s ready to go after this weekend.

“Wherever I end up, I’m going to be excited,” Maye said. “After all I’ve been through, I’ll take whatever happens. I can’t wait to get started.”

Maye suffered a broken arm late in the season but is healthy now and ready to spring into action. One thing teams won’t ever have to question is this kid’s character, which is shining like a beacon as he follows through with his promise.