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.