When No. 2 Ohio State hosts No. 12 Miami today, it will no doubt be one HUGE college football game. But for one Buckeye, 5-11, 218 pound senior linebacker Brian Rolle, this specific contest will be extra special.
Rolle is a native of Immokalee, Fla., in the southern part of the state. And his cousin Antrel Rolle was an All-American corner for the Miami Hurricanes. And yes, Antrel did play against the Buckeyes in that classic 2003 Fiesta Bowl.
Given this background, Brian Rolle obviously grew up a Miami Hurricanes fan.
“That’s the only place I thought about going, I never even thought about being recruited, I just said I’m going to Miami,” Rolle told me last Saturday.
Unfortunately, the ‘Canes never offered Rolle.
“I thought I was going to be a Cane no doubt about it, and it’s kinda crazy that I ended up at Ohio State, and we end up playing them, but it’s personal for me. So I’m looking forward to it, going to be zeroed in,” Rolle said.
By Paul M. Banks
The vastly undersized middle linebacker makes up for what he lacks in height and bulk by being a vocal leader on his defensive unit. He has a nose for the ball, tremendous tackling skills, and an amazing ability to make excellent calls and reads. He’s a major reason the Buckeyes have such a dominant front seven.
It wasn’t until late in the recruiting cycle that Rolle made his decision to come to Columbus.
“Up until November of my senior year. I came up here for the Michigan game then I said I’m going to be a Buckeye,” Rolle stated.
Rolle became a starter in 2009 and accumulated 94 tackles, seven for a loss, and an interception of Illinois’ Juice Williams. He got his first career pick-six last week in the opening night 45-7 demolishing of Marshall.
So do the Hurricane faithful think Rolle is a traitor this week for leaving the area and joining the Buckeyes?
“Not at all, people understand that I had to make a decision that was best for me and go where my heart was. I didn’t get an offer from them, so I couldn’t help that,” Rolle said.
He told me Jonathan Vilma was his favorite Cane when he was a teenager. And since “it’s all about the U,” I had to ask Rolle what he thought of the ESPN “30 for 30” documentary highlighting the program’s glory years.
“It was pretty sweet, it was nice to see Michael Irvin and all those guys back in the day, something great they did, and I think maybe they should do something like that here with all the guys like Jack Tatum, Bill Willis etc.”
Paul M. Banks is President and CEO of The Sports Bank.net , a Midwest focused webzine. He is also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, the Chicago Tribune’s blog network, Walter Football.com, the Washington Times Communities, Yardbarker Network, and Fox Sports.com
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