As each football season comes to a close the inevitable, emotional senior day shows up. This year is no different. What is different is the type of senior class to which the Rams are saying goodbye.
The 2005 seniors have accomplished more than expected – on and off the field. Not only do this year's seniors have players such as David Anderson, who now owns Rams records for receptions and receiving yards, they also have players such as Mike Brisiel and Albert Bimper who have started on the offensive line since their freshman year.
"Seems like everyone of our seniors is a contributor," said head coach Sonny Lubick. "I can't think of one that hasn't played for us. I think that speaks a lot for them, [and] the program."
This year's senior class of 14 players is also special because every one of them is expected to graduate. Generally, 70 percent is a solid percentage of players graduating.
"All of them will be very close to graduating," Lubick said. "I guess we'll probably have several of those guys that will be leaving here in December."
Anderson is one of those players leaving in December, graduating in three and a half years. Another is senior safety Travis Garcia, who will also be finished in December; he had just one credit to take this semester to finish out his degree.
While graduating is the most important aspect for any college student, Saturday is going to be full of emotions for the seniors.
"It's crazy because when you think about it in high school I played with everybody for 18 years," said senior linebacker Jahmal Hall, who was cleared to play this week despite having a slight ACL tear in his knee. "But in this short amount of time you grow just as close to these guys as the people you grow up with. They're like my extended family, it's going to be hard to not be around them everyday."
Despite thoughts of graduation and leaving, the seniors know that the possibilities of this season, in terms of a potential bowl birth, have to be the main focus.
"Senior or not, I'm thinking I want to get back to a bowl game," Brisiel said. "Last year was the worst feeling in the world staying home for Christmas. Not being able to go to a bowl is a bad feeling all around, I don't care if you're a senior or not."
If this year's seniors come through in the final two games of the season, there is a major possibility for the Rams to be chosen for a bowl. The two likely bowl births are the Diamond Walnut San Francisco Bowl and the SDCCU Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego.
This senior class has come up short in two bowl appearances. If the Rams accomplish that feat, the class of 2006 may be considered as one of the top athletic and academic classes Lubick has ever coached.