Whenever someone talks about collegiate sports, they almost always use the term “student-athletes” for the players. However, most of us know that the better phrase to use would be “athlete-students,” if not just “athlete.” Kentucky’s basketball team had an average GPA of 2.025, and most one-and-done basketball players don’t attend classes after their season ends. But not everyone is collegiate sports is a class-skipping, frat-partying, scholastic underachiever; one true scholar-athlete sticks out from the rest, Myron Rolle.
If you’re looking for a player who symbolizes “student-athlete”, you’ll be hard pressed to find one better the Myron Rolle. Rolle graduated Florida State after two and a half years with every pre-med requirement and a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science with a 3.75 GPA. In his junior year, he applied for the Rhodes Scholarship, as he wants to be a neurosurgeon after his NFL career, but his interview was scheduled on a key ACC matchup between his Seminoles and the Maryland Terrapins. He chose to go Birmingham, Alabama for his interview and fly back to the game and play mid-way through. Florida State crushed Maryland 37-3 and he won one of the 32 Rhodes Scholarships.
Going into the draft last year, he was projected to be a late first- or early second-round draft pick. Valuing his education and looking past his athletic career, Rolle attended Oxford. Ultimately, this hurt his draft stock because teams question his commitment to the game and how long he will be able to play. So in the end, he fell to the sixth-round and into the laps of the Tennessee Titans.
Myron Rolle belongs to a prestigious football family, one that has produced many NFL players, including Pro Bowl corner back Samari Rolle and Pro Bowl safety Antrel Rolle. Myron has the potential to be the same caliber of player. He started as a freshman at FSU, where he earned All-American honors. At 6″2″ 215, Rolle certainly has the size to be a great NFL Safety, and his 4.59 40 time only helps.
So here we have a Rhodes Scholar All-American student-athlete entering the NFL Draft. He is mature, smart, and athletic. Somehow he falls to the 207th pick in the draft, the 15th safety drafted. Football IQ is always stressed by coaches because nothing gets on their nerves like someone forgetting a play or where they are supposed to go. Smart players make smart plays and almost always know exactly where to be. One stray defender could be the difference a win and a crushing loss.
He is a team leader. Again, a valuable trait, leadership can be hard to find, especially on defense. Most of the fire and motivation comes from the middle linebacker, but oftentimes you’ll need more then just that. Smart players and tough players make their teammates better, they work together and make the team stronger.
Clearly one of the biggest stories of the draft, Myron Rolle can only be disappointed that he fell this far in the draft. He was the top recruit in his class and showcased his talent throughout his three years as a Seminole. But instead, he keeps his head high. He knows that teams want a committed player over a character player, but all it takes to become a Pro Bowler or even more is determination and hard work. Myron Rolle now has a chip on his shoulder and a reason to prove his doubters wrong.
When the Titans took a “chance” on a talented safety in the sixth round of the draft, they inherited a great man, a great teammate, and a great player. Even if Myron Rolle only plays for three, four, five years, that is still longer the any other draft pick they took this season, and he will already have made a mark on their community.
Each team needs a Myron Rolle. Not necessarily a Rhodes Scholar, but a great person, and smart person, someone who can lift up the football community and work for a greater cause. Myron and his family are opening a free health services clinic in his family’s home nation of the Bahamas, and he does much more for the community.
We’ve all seen the NCAA commercials, “Most of us go pro in something other than sports.” Sure, most of those are curling players from University of Wyoming and archers from Southwest Missouri State, but you know what, it’s still true. And Myron Rolle will be lucky enough to go pro in both.
Myron Rolle is the perfect — well — Rolle Model for every young athlete out there. You need to work hard on and off the field, and make sure you stay out of trouble. You can be the valedictorian of your class while winning a Heisman or other prestigious awards. You can be the star athlete and star student you want to be. It’s all a matter of will.
I wrote a paper about this same idea in my English class. From what I understand, the one-and-done players GPA isn’t even calculated into the cumulative GPA of the team or program because they leave early. If that is the case, imagine how bad the GPAs would really be if they were calculated in. I wish there was an easy solution to this problem, but there is not.