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Menocal going from lineman to lawyer
Furman University student David Menocal gets to spend the holidays at his Gainesville home after finishing his college career. The 2004 Gainesville High graduate is a lineman for the Furman Paladins.

David Menocal

Furman University

High school: Gainesville (Class of 2004)

Position: Offensive line

Age: 23

Notable: Started at center as a red-shirt senior for the Paladins ... Played in 11 games in 2007 and logged 253 snaps at center ... Missed entire 2006 season with a torn ACL ... Started 37 straight games for the Red Elephants on the offensive and defensive line ... served as Gainesville’s team captain in 2003 ... graduated from Furman with a 3.45 GPA in Political Science with plans to attend law school in the fall.

David Menocal seems to have his ducks in a row for life after football. He’s ready to see how he looks wearing a suit and tie in court.

Mencoal, a 2004 Gainesville High graduate, is content in the fact that he maxed out his potential playing football during his five years at Furman. He just wrapped up his red-shirt senior season as the starting center on the offensive line for the Paladins.

Becoming a lawyer is now taking center stage for the next three years.

“I really enjoyed playing this year,” Menocal said. “I think it prepared me for the next phase of my life, which I’m about to enter.”

His final season on the line for the Paladins was certainly filed with memories. Furman started the season 6-2 and its first loss was a good performance against Virginia Tech in Week 2. But the Paladins lost three of their last four to put the playoffs out of reach.

Still, he doesn’t have any regrets returning for a fifth season, after tearing his ACL as a red-shirt sophomore and needing three surgeries to return to the football field. Menocal returned to football healthy in 2007 and played in 11 games before earning the starting role in 2008.

After surgery, he returned to the field at a relatively light 250 pounds for the position he played. Menocal is savvy enough to understand that offensive lineman that size aren’t in high demand at the next level and that’s completely fine with the former Red Elephant who aspires to be an immigration attorney.

“I wouldn’t trade my experience at Furman for anything,” Menocal said. “I feel like it prepared me well for the working world.”

Sure, he’ll miss playing football on occasion, like the feeling of team camaraderie and the thrill of making a big play. But the risk of injury makes it a little easier to turn the page in his life to the professional world.

Menocal’s biggest joys center around his academic background and preparation to begin law school in the fall. With his degree in hand and playing career wrapped up, Christmas vacation and the spring will center around tying up loose ends with taking the LSAT and sending out law school applications.

“I’m just trying to relax during the break and spend time with my family,” he said.

Menocal graduated with his class last May with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science. He spent the fall semester taking three classes to remain eligible to play football, including working in the office of a prominent defense attorney, Steve Henry in Greenville, S.C., which counted toward course credit.

Learning the inner workings of the profession confirmed his commitment to going to law school.

This future lawyer had a final semester of college unique to probably any other college football player this fall. The first part of the day involved getting hands-on experience with his opportunity in Henry’s office doing things like working on pro bono projects, sitting at the counsel table in court, visiting clients in jail and even getting to pick a jury for a civil case.

“He let me do a lot more than a law clerk would be accustomed,” Menocal said.

In return, Henry is writing his letter of recommendation for law school which should complement his strong academic background.

Menocal is getting used to the fact he’s taken off his shoulder pads for the final time. But now, he’ll have to adjust to carrying the legal pad into the courtroom.

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