Helping UCF get its first bowl win in senior year, making a strong comeback after tearing your ACL and having a full athletic scholarship to two Florida universities for two different sports — these are just a few accomplishments of former UCF football players Jamar Newsome, A.J. Guyton and Ray Shipman during their college years.
But where are they know?
UCF won the Liberty Bowl, the school's first bowl game victory, in 2010. Jamar Newsome was a senior wide receiver for the Knights back then.
Now, four years later, Newsome is in the training camp with the Dallas Cowboys. He's been in the NFL for four years. In 2011, he was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Jacksonville Jaguars. He's since been with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Kansas City Chiefs.
Over in California, Newsome says training camp is tough, citing 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. practices, four out of five days per week. He says it's been a "constant grind" but credits George O'Leary for preparing him for the professional level.
"Our program was actually run like a professional program, and I think he did a good job at preparing us for that," Newsome said.
Off the field, Newsome married his college sweetheart, Latosha Robinson, in February 2013. He maintains that you never know where this path can take you and offers advice for student athletes.
"Get your degree. That's No. 1. You never know how long this path is going to go. NFL really stands for 'not for long,'" Newsome said. "You see guys fall down the wayside and they have to use their degrees as a backup plan."
In 2008, A.J. Guyton sat out his entire sophomore season with a torn ACL. The following season he appeared in all 13 of the Knights' games, starting in six of them. Now he plays in the Canadian Football League for the Edmonton Eskimos, but he didn't quite take the traditional route to get there.
Guyton began working for the State of Florida Corrections Department as an officer in 2012. He also launched his own clothing line called beGREAT in March 2013. He said he loved his job as a corrections officer and launching his own business, but his heart was still on the field.
He resumed training and discontinued beGREAT in January 2014, and by the next month, the Edmonton Eskimos called Guyton expressing interest in signing him.
Thus far, he's been enjoying the Canadian experience.
"The most memorable experience thus far for me has been scoring my first professional touchdown a couple weeks back. Just knowing that I've been out of football almost two years, [then] to come make a team and actually perform at a high level has just been great for me," Guyton said.
Guyton said that for those who may not make it right after college, don't give up.
"Never stop believing. You have to be prepared for whatever situation life throws your way, because not everyone will make it pro at first, but that doesn't mean it's over," Guyton said.
Ray Shipman began his first season with UCF in 2011 after he transferred from the University of Florida in 2010, where he played guard for the basketball team.
In 2012, Shipman was signed as a free agent to the New Orleans Saints. He made it through training camp and the entire preseason before suffering a hamstring injury and being cut before making the final roster.
Today, Shipman is the founder and CEO of his own foundation, ChampionShips. He started the foundation to try to teach young athletes to use athletics to maximize their education. It began in January 2014 after he held a camp for kids last December at Monsignor Pace, his old high school.
"[My favorite part is] building that foundation for them. I was in their shoes not too long ago, so I want to help them," Shipman said.
Recently, ChampionShips partnered with the Miami Dolphins in bringing 175 South Florida kids to Dolphins training camp, where they spent time with the players and ran through drills.
ChampionShips also has a renovation project in the works at Miramar Isles Park. The foundation will fund the refurbishing of a basketball court dear to Shipman's heart, as he grew up playing basketball on it.
Shipman is now taking classes at St. Thomas University, working toward his master's degree in sports administration. He is also employed by the university's athletic department as the director of athletic development.
Although Shipman isn't playing on the field, he's enjoying his life after UCF.
"It's been interesting. It's not the path I thought I'd have, but I like it. It's a path I'm enjoying," Shipman said.