2018 Football Commit Zion Roland Hopes to Play Football and Baseball for Louisville
Saint Petersburg, Fla., three-star wide receiver Zion Roland committed to the University of Louisville football team last August.
The 6-foot, 175-pound Roland is one of four 2018 recruits currently committed to U of L. The Louisville coaching staff has landed all four commitments from the state of Florida.
Roland is a dual-sport athlete at Admiral Farragut Academy where he plays wide receiver and corner for the football team and outfield and third base for the baseball team. He has talked with both coach Petrino and coach McDonnell about playing both sports at Louisville.
Roland is scheduled to visit Louisville this summer. He visited Miami a few weeks ago and has visits scheduled at Toledo, USF, UCF, and Florida.
Here’s a Q&A with Roland:
Cardinal Authority: What was it that set Louisville apart from other schools that recruited you?
Roland: “Louisville was my second offer that I got my ninth grade year so they built that relationship with me early. I just didn’t see any reason not to go ahead and commit at that point in time.”
CA: What impressed you most about the football program?
Roland: “I like the offense. When I watched them in the fall I saw that no matter who the play maker was, they found a way to get him the ball regardless of what offensive scheme they were running. So for instance if the play maker was Quick, who was the receiver, I saw one play where they motioned him to the backfield and gave him a sweep or something, and then the next play they threw him a pass because he was hot at the time. No matter what the scheme is and no matter who they are playing, if you are hot, they are going to try to get you the ball for the win.”
CA: What did you know about Louisville before being recruited by U of L?
Roland: “One of my dad’s players that he coached at high school and in little league played at Louisville. He was a linebacker. His name was George Durant. He was on the team when they played the bowl game at the Rays’ stadium. I knew that it was a great fan base and that there was a lot of loyalty with the fans. If you were walking around campus and you were a football player, they showed you a lot of love and support.”
CA: Are you scheduled to visit Louisville? Do you have other visits scheduled?
Roland: “I will visit Louisville this summer. Verbally right now I’m supposed to visit Florida, Toledo, USF, UCF and I visited Miami two or three weeks ago.”
CA: Which schools outside of Louisville are you most interested in?
Roland: “USF and Florida. Being a Florida kid its always been a dream for a Florida kid to go to school in Florida.”
CA: Louisville has had a lot of success recruiting athletes out of Florida. What is it that attracts Florida players to Louisville?
Roland: “Lamar Jackson. Lamar Jackson is from Florida and he traveled all the way to Louisville and he’s a star. He’s a Heisman finalist and Heisman winner. He beat FSU by 56 points or whatever the score was. Just being a Florida athlete knowing that you can go to an out-of-state school and make production it makes you feel good.”
CA: What is it like knowing you may have the chance to play with Heisman trophy winner Lamar Jackson?
Roland: “The possibility would be very very slim because I’m pretty sure he’s going to be drafted next year, but if I get that chance it would be a blessing. It’s a blessing to just play next level football period. For me to be able to go to the next level and play football its just all glory to God for that. If I’m able to play with a Heisman winner, that will be even more of a blessing.”
CA: Have you been following the Louisville Baseball team this season? What do you think about their success so far and the possibility of playing for a top-level football team and a top-level baseball team?
Roland: “I love their baseball team mainly because they have a lot of black athletes on their team. That’s one thing I look for when I have the chance. If I play on the baseball team and they have a lot of black athletes, that makes me feel good. And they are all stars and they’ve been playing very very well, so the team is very successful. I’m sure their coaches love their players and they are obviously doing a great job because of their great success.”
CA: Have you talked to coach McDonnell about playing baseball?
Roland: “I talked to him very briefly but mainly my father talked to him more about the baseball thing. He didn’t offer me to play baseball because he thought I was going to be a draft guy and baseball is different from football because in baseball they are only allowed to give a limited amount of scholarships, but once he found out I was already committed for football then he definitely hit me up and asked if I was going to play baseball too. I said “yeah, without a doubt.”
CA: Have you talked with coach Petrino about playing both sports at Louisville?
Roland: “I already talked to coach Petrino about it. That’s already been settled. That was settled the second day I committed. They said it was cool.”
CA: What position do you see yourself playing in both sports?
Roland: “Baseball I see myself playing centerfield because I’m really good at covering ground. Football I can play anything honestly. I don’t really limit myself to one position, I just play football, so wherever. I see myself more as a Jabril Peppers or an Adoree Jackson. I don’t play corner, I don’t play receiver, I just play ball. That’s it.”
CA: Have the football coaches told you what they think you need to work on before arriving at Louisville?
Roland: “I talk to coach Petrino more about how I’m doing in school or how I’m doing in life… period. I’m pretty sure when he comes down for spring we will talk more about what I need to work on. Its better to talk man to man than on the phone.”
CA: What have you been up to in the off season? What have you been working on to prepare for college football?
Roland: “I’m finishing up districts for baseball. We have a district game Tuesday then once that’s over with I’ll be on the field for spring. But as far as workouts, I mean everything I do I work on football. Whether that’s running outside, running cross-fields, or if its just simple mental things like watching film from last year- everything I do outside of school has something to do with football.”
CA: Talk a little bit about your play style and what you hope to bring to Louisville.
Roland: “I can’t really put my play-style in a certain bracket where people will understand. I just feel like I have something that can’t be taught, just being able to just compete and come on the field every day trying to win. Even speed-wise when I run the 40, my 40 time doesn’t match my highlight time because I can’t put my speed in numbers either. I can’t really characterize my play- style. I just know every time I’m on the field I want to win.”