Bloomington, Ind. – It's not always what you know, but who you know that matters.
When it comes to Hollywood, Fla., linebacker Tarik Rollins, it's who he knows that could pay off for the IU football program.
Indiana is one of 13 schools that has already offered a scholarship to the 6-2, 200-pound outside linebacker from Chaminade Madonna College Prep, but the Hoosiers could get a boost from the fact Rollins is a long-time friend of former Plantation H.S. safety and soon-to-be Hoosier Jarrell Drane.
"I've known Jarrell since about the eighth grade," Rollins said. "We're good friends and see each other a lot. I know he's going to Indiana, and I know what kind of player he is."
The Drane-Rollins connection was a pleasant surprise to IU Assistant Coach Matt Canada, who lured Drane to Bloomington a year ago. Now, he's hoping to bring another athletic defender to Bloomington from the Sunshine State.
Rollins is coming off a big junior season, having totaled 85 tackles, five sacks, five int
erceptions and two forced fumbles for a Chaminade Madonna College Prep squad that went 10-3. That's helped him earn scholarship offers from some big names, including LSU, Clemson, South Carolina, Wake Forest, Wisconsin and Purdue, among others.
He said he's planning on making some trips this summer to look at a handful of the schools he's considering, and a visit to the state of Indiana is likely so he can check out the campuses in both Bloomington and West Lafayette.
"It would sort of be a two for one trip," Rollins said.
While the Jarrell Drane link is certainly a plus for the Hoosiers, Rollins said there are other reasons he's taking a very serious look at the Indiana program.
"They have a lot going for them," Rollins said. "I feel I've made a nice connection with the coaches there, and I feel I have a great opportunity to do a lot of great things at Indiana. Then with Jarrell being there, that's a plus."
It's a good bet Drane would like to see his high school friend playing alongside him in Bloomington, and Rollins said Drane is well aware of the fact IU is recruiting him. But the incoming freshman hasn't been putting too much pressure on his friend to follow him north to the Big Ten.
"I think his approach is do what's best for me," Rollins said. "But I think he'd be happy if I was able to come up there to Indiana with him. For me, having Jarrell there is a factor. It's not a huge factor, but it would be nice to know that if I went there I'd know someone."
Wherever he winds up, Rollins is expected to be an impact player. He brings a great deal of athleticism to the outside linebacker position, and he's versatile enough to defend whatever opponents throw at him.
"Coaches seem to like that I'm a very versatile player, that I'm someone who can stop the run and the pass," Rollins said. "My biggest attribute is probably my playing style – I like to be the aggressor."
See Tarik Rollins in action:
Connection Could Pay Off for IU with Rollins
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