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NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) -
Former Tulane football player Devon Walker graduated on Saturday.
Paralyzed in a game just two years ago, Walker received his degree in cell and molecular biology.
Of the thousands of students graduating Tulane University in 2014, President Scott Cowen pointed to one, Devon Walker, whose dedication served as inspiration for the rest.
"He represents the very best of who we are and who we hope to be," said Cowen.
It's not how the former Tulane safety pictured his graduation day: in a wheelchair, paralyzed from the neck down.
However, it was the culmination of more achievements than he could have ever imagined he'd set out to accomplish.
"I'm very excited. It's been a day that's been a long time coming so I'm ready to start I guess," said Walker.
"For all of us, he's just been an inspiration. His positivity and optimism is just relentless," said friend Jacob Davis.
Walker's friends and fellow teammates adjusted his cap, readying him for graduation as they had helped him do for two years.
"They've been wonderful. Through my classes, through my therapy, through coming to school and actually doing what I need to do and pushing me to be better than just average they've all been a help to me," said Walker.
However, it was the determination of Walker that his friends said kept them on track.
"He's come a long way. I'm very proud of him. To be able to come from where he's gone from and go through the things he's gone through, and still be able to come here and put on a smile and give great effort each and every day, I'm proud of him," said friend Kyle Davis.
It is an effort that also inspired Saints Quarterback Drew Brees. After being honored at Tulane's Commencement, Brees recalled visiting Walker in Atlanta soon after his injury.
"Just one of those guys who is so special, so inspirational, you know that he is destined for so many great things in his life and I'm just blessed to know him," said Brees.
It will be a future with a molecular biology degree, the goal of going to medical school, and a will to keep pushing forward in every way he can.
"Never give up hope, and no matter what don't get shot down. Don't discourage yourself not to do it. Go out there and shoot for the skies," said Walker.
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Tuesday, August 19 2014 4:10 PM EDT2014-08-19 20:10:07 GMT
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