Safety Rollins creating hoopla


Only one player in Miami (Ohio) history has swiped the ball from the opposition more than Quinten Rollins.

And you should see what Rollins can do on the football field.

Rollins, a four-year starter at point guard for the Redhawks, ranks second in school history behind longtime NBA standout Ron Harper with 214 steals. At the suggestion of a Baltimore Ravens scout – Ravens head coach John Harbaugh is a Miami (Ohio) graduate – Rollins returned to school for a fifth year to play defensive back for the football team.

Now he's poised to potentially be one of the steals of the NFL Draft.

"I wouldn't say I surprised myself, because if anyone knows what I'm capable of, it's me. But I just didn't expect it to come that fast," Rollins said. "I thought I'd have a solid year but to have a year like that, it was special. I was blessed and fortunate, and hopefully I have more seasons to come."

Rollins, who played cornerback in his one college season but is projected as a safety on the next level, was an instant hit on the football field. A 5-11, 195-pounder who played offense as a football player in high school, Rollins was Mid-American Conference Defensive Player of the Year after finishing third in the nation with seven interceptions.

"I just have a knack for the ball – a natural knack for the ball," Rollins said. "I've always had that since I was a kid. Love getting steals, love getting interceptions. I was fortunate enough to be an offensive player in high school, so that's where I get my ball skills from. It all translates."

Rollins' ball skills are unquestioned, but succeeding in an NFL secondary is about more than ball skills. He learned that early on in his return to the football field.

"The first day of practice, I thought I was going to be done," Rollins said. "I'm a competitor, and I expected to go out there and do the same things I was doing in high school. When it wasn't happening the first day, it was like 'Oh, what am I doing here?'

"But the next day I came in and the GA (graduate assistant) was like, 'You did some good things out there.' I'm thinking I had a terrible practice and he said, 'You did some good things naturally.' So that was my building block, and I stuck with it and kept getting better."

Rollins' transition was helped by teammates eager to help as well as his eagerness to learn, but one thing they couldn't prepare him for was the physicality of the game. Rollins didn't really hit anyone during spring practice and the preseason as the Redhawks tread lightly given their lack of depth, so he had to wait until the first game of the season.

"It was great, just getting that off my shoulders because the team didn't know if I could hit. I knew I could hit," Rollins said. "It was about gaining the respect of my teammates, knowing that they could count on me to sacrifice my body for the good of the team.

"I've never had a problem sticking my nose in there."

Rollins proved to be a sure tackler in his one college season, and his interception numbers speak for themselves. Now, after hoping for so long that the NBA could be in his future, Rollins could easily find himself being selected in the third and maybe even the second round of the draft – the NFL Draft.

"I'm definitely curious to see what my upside is just because I know I've got so much more learning to do," he said. "Even though I'm a fast learner, I've got a lot of learning to do.

"I'm just ready to go to an organization and learn their schemes and get some of their coaching and keep continuing to build from there."

Related Content