Former Miami (OH) point guard Quinten Rollins finished his collegiate career on the football field, as he transitioned to the Redhawk football program and became a starting cornerback during the 2014 season.
Rollins became the MAC Defensive Player of the Year in his one and only season of college football and was selected by the Green Bay Packers with the 62nd overall pick during the 2nd round during the 2015 NFL Draft on Friday night.
After his basketball career was over, the 6-foot-0 Rollins still had a desire to compete and someone suggested he try out for the Miami football team, since he still had a year of eligibility remaining. Rollins used a NCAA rule that allows players who have exhausted four years of eligibility in one sport to get a waiver to play an extra season in another.
On the hardwood, Rollins averaged 6.9 points, 3.9 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 2.4 steals per game during his final season but made a huge impact for the Redhawk football program.
Playing football, Rollins registered 72 tackles, eight for loss, and also had seven interceptions and a touchdown.
Former Miami (OH) point guard now a hot name in the 2015 NFL Draft
During a four-year basketball career at Miami (OH), point guard Quinten Rollins made an impact on both ends of the floor for the RedHawks. The 6-foot guard finished fourth in program history in career assists and was also second in career steals.
But after his basketball career was over, Rollins still had a desire to compete and someone suggested he tryout for the Miami football team, since he still had a year of eligibility remaining. So Rollins used a NCAA rule that allows players who have exhausted four years of eligibility in one sport to get a waiver to play an extra season in another.
In a story from Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Rollins received a phone call from Miami football coach Chuck Martin inviting him to practice with the team last spring after basketball ended. After winning MAC Defensive Player of the Year honors in his one and only season of college football in 2014, it appears that Rollins found the sport he was meant to play.
At cornerback this season Rollins registered 72 tackles, eight for loss, and also had seven interceptions and a touchdown.
College basketball and football fans will probably remember former Duke point guard Greg Paulus playing quarterback at Syracuse. Former Oregon point guard Johnathan Loyd also exercised this same rule and played on Oregon’s Rose Bowl-winning team at wide receiver this season after four years on the basketball team.
Rollins is a point guard who transitioned to football like Paulus and Loyd, but unlike those two, he’s firmly on the NFL radar and considered a fast-rising pro prospect. Rollins is a hot name in the 2015 NFL Draft, with some scouts even saying that he could go in the first round after some flashes of strong play at this week’s Senior Bowl.
It’s a meteoric rise for a hooper turned college football player who only played one season in college after playing some football in high school. We’ve seen college basketball players like Antonio Gates and Jimmy Graham transition from hoops to the NFL before, so Rollins taking this path wouldn’t be entirely unique.
It’ll be interesting to see how Rollins continues to perform in workouts and at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis next month. It would be yet another story of a basketball player finding success on the gridiron and it’s a trend that will likely continue.
The MAC has become known for parity the last few years, but last season saw the emergence of the league’s West Division after many years of dormant activity.
Before last season’s MAC conference tournament title game between Toledo and Western Michigan, the West hadn’t had a team in the league championship game since 2006 as the East Division and teams like Akron and Ohio usually dominated the league’s NCAA Tournament bid.
That changed dramatically in 2013-14 as Toledo won a school-record 27 games but ultimately fell short of making the tournament by falling to Western Michigan.
The Rockets will be favored to make the Big Dance this season, however, as they return four starters, including two of the league’s top-1o scorers in senior point guard Julius Brown and fellow senior Justin Drummond. If Toledo can improve its shaky defense and get more stops on the defensive end, they could be one of the most dangerous mid-major programs in the country this season because they can really put up points in a hurry.
Western Michigan will still have plenty of gas in the tank after only losing All-MAC center Shayne Whittington from a NCAA Tournament team. Senior guard David Brown was granted a sixth year of eligibility and is the league’s returning leading scorer and he’s joined by senior point guard Austin Richie, junior power forward Connar Tava and sophomore forward Tucker Haymond.
Representing the East Division will be Akron, who has reached 20 wins a remarkable nine consecutive years under head coach Keith Dambrot. If league history is any indication, the Zips might be the favorite to make the NCAA Tournament by virtue of always making it during odd-numbered years. Akron reached the NCAA Tournament in 2009, 2011 and 2013, with breaks one-year in between just like this season. Past history aside, Akron returns all-league forward Demetrius “Tree” Treadwell, who is one of the most productive players in the league and the team will have plenty of talent to compete in 2014-15.
With new head coach Saul Phillips at the helm, Ohio should be competitive this season as well. Senior forward Maurice Ndour is a force on the interior and the senior backcourt of Stevie Taylor and Javarez Willis should be steady for the Bobcats.
From there, the MAC is filled with question marks.
Bowling Green has a new head coach in former Wichita State assistant Chris Jans and he inherits a roster filled with experienced players. All-MAC selection Richaun Holmes returns at forward and senior guards Anthony Henderson and Jehvon Clarke can both score as well while junior forward Spencer Parker also averaged double-figures last season.
One of the surprise teams this season in the MAC could be Northern Illinois, as the Huskies improved by 10 wins last season and return plenty of talent. Head coach Mark Montgomery returns plenty of players with starting experience, including senior center Jordan Threloff, forwards Darrell Bowie and Travon Baker and guard Aaric Armstead, but he also gains Kansas State transfer Michael Orris at point guard, Purdue transfer Anthony Johnson at shooting guard and sophomore guard Dontel Highsmith returns from a ACL injury that robbed him of a promising start last season.
Kent State returns its top three scorers in guards Kris Brewer, Derek Jackson and Devareaux Manley, but the Golden Flashes were inconsistent last season and relied too much on perimeter jumpers. Buffalo begins life after MAC Player of the Year Javon McCrea and must replace his stellar production in the front court this season. Eastern Michigan also returns its top three scorers from a 22-win season, but they’ll have to make it over the hump of beating the top teams in the league.
PRESEASON MAC PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Julius Brown, Toledo
The senior point guard known as “Juice” returns to a 27-win team after averaging 14.9 points and a MAC-leading 6 assists per game last season. The 5-foot-10 Brown is the engine that makes the Rockets’ potent offense run and his scoring average increased to 16.2 points per game during MAC play last season.
THE REST OF THE PRESEASON ALL-MAC TEAM:
David Brown, Western Michigan – The 6-foot-4 senior was granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA after a career filled with medical issues and the Broncos will be pleased because he’s the MAC’s returning leading scorer at 19.1 points per game.
Richaun Holmes, Bowling Green – One of the MAC’s best athletes, the 6-foot-8 Holmes averaged 13.3 points and 7.7 rebounds per game as a junior while also leading the conference in blocks.
Demetrius Treadwell, Akron – The 6-foot-7, 235-pound forward is coming off of a first-team All-MAC appearance after averaging 15.2 points and 8.6 rebounds per game last year.
Maurice Ndour, Ohio – The 6-foot-9 senior with a 7-foot-5 wingspan put that to good use last season, averaging 13.8 points, 7 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game, good for top-10 in all three categories in the conference.