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DAVIS, Calif. - Before kickoff of Saturday's home finale vs. Southern Utah, UC Davis football will honor its 14-member graduating class as part of its Senior Day ceremony. Among that group is offensive lineman Julian Bertero, who will soon graduate with a degree in cognitive sciences.
In this week's Inside the Huddle, Bertero shares his experiences attending the No. 6-ranked public school in the nation, and what he will miss the most about being a student-athlete.
With this season's home finale approaching, how are you preparing for the unique circumstances associated with this event?
"It has sunk in because a lot of people back home have told me 'I cannot wait to make it to your Senior Day.' With only a handful of practices remaining, I realize this is the last time I will play at Aggie Stadium. I have one last time to put everything on the line for our fans and this team on our home field."
Have the emotions that often show up on Senior Day kicked-in yet?
"No, not yet. I am still taking it one day at a time. Knowing how I handle things, I do not think everything will sink in until after (next weekend's) Sacramento State. I try to bury myself with the task at hand, whether it involves my academics or football, and focus on what I need to accomplish."
With the way this program is evolving, how does it feel being a part of this graduating class?
"I arrived to UC Davis with 27 other guys my freshman year, and there are eight or nine of us who have not used our four years of eligibility or graduated. We have been through so much together, competing through some tough seasons; it is a phenomenal experience ending everything on a high note.
"To see all the new guys work hard, push themselves, everyone else and elevate Aggie football means the world to me."
What is the one football-related experience you will miss the most?
"I didn't play football until I was a freshman at high school. At that time, I was a timid big guy, and that combination does not mix well. But I started playing and immediately joined the offensive line; knowing those five guys always have your back, being part of a tight-knit group, and enjoying that camaraderie is what I will miss the most."
Earning a degree at UC Davis means what to you?
"It excites me, because I never thought I would attend UC Davis. Once I received an official visit, I committed immediately.
"People hear about the rankings associated with this school, the world-class academics and what kind of research takes place on campus; being able to attach my name to what UC Davis is all about constantly amazes me."
What would you tell student-athletes about UC Davis, based on your experiences?
"There is no better time to attend UC Davis, everything is unbelievable. If you are a football student-athlete, everything Coach Hawkins talks about takes place on a daily basis. This program handles itself the right way; from one season to the next, this program has completely changed its trajectory.
"If you want to join a program that is about to take off, you need to play for UC Davis."
The final regular season home game for Bertero, and his teammates, will kick-off at 4 p.m. Saturday afternoon when UC Davis faces No. 19/15 Southern Utah at Aggie Stadium.
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Providing a small-town community feel while providing a world-class academic experience, UC Davis is home to more than 37,000 students and centrally located between San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, and the Napa Valley.
UC Davis offers nearly 100 graduate programs and more than 100 academic majors across four colleges and six professional schools, ranking among the world and nation's best in numerous disciplines, including veterinary science, agriculture, and plant and animal programs.
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