RECRUITING: Catching up with Myron Rolle

Myron Rolle, who is perhaps America's top defensive back prospect, talks about his track season, summer visit plans, the three new schools he recently added to the mix and his interest in Oklahoma.

Myron Rolle, the nation's top defensive prospect out of The Hun High School in Princeton N.J., will take his fourth unofficial visit this weekend when he and his family take a look at the University of Florida. Thus far, Rolle has been to OU, Miami and Michigan, and after Florida he will take in Florida State later this summer.

School is winding down for Rolle and his track season is over. Rolle recently talked with OUInsider.com about a number of different aspects related to his recruiting and his current athletic career.

JH: How did your track season finish up?

MR: "It went pretty well. I finished third in the state in the 100-meters running a 10.8. That was a school record, which was pretty good. I ran a 22.2 in the 200-meters, and that was a school record as well. I went 51.1 in the 400-meters, and that was a school record. So in the same day I ran five events plus a semi-final 100, a final 100, a final 200, final 400, and I ran the third leg in the 4X400 relay team. Our relay team didn't do that well, but I brought us from fifth place to second, so that was pretty good. That was a hard day's work. Overall, the season was really good.
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JH: What will you do athletically in the summer to keep in shape?

MR: "Once school is over I will start training with my trainer in South Jersey. He is a real good guy and he will call me when I am getting out. He has some other guys, local kids around where I live, who are anxious to workout. Some of them are receivers to and that that will be a challenge for me to work with them. Pete Hunter, who plays for the Dallas Cowboys, is going to be back town this summer. I am not going to any camps or combines this summer. I am just going to have a relaxing summer and it will be a little bit easier than I have done in the past. I still plan on getting better and improving things that I need to work on for the fall season."

JH: Won't this be the first summer since the 8th grade that you will not attend some form of a summer camp?

MR: "That is correct. And it is going to be a little different. I think that I am going to be alright. Also, I got to train with some good people this past week. I trained with Samari Rolle in Nashville, Tenn. I went there and spent a week with him and that was very good. It was hot, but his trainer, Judd Granso, who played a Tennessee and who works at this sports complex called D-1, worked us hard. We did a lot of hard work lifting and running and we did some pool exercises. In all, it was very good. I am still working hard even though I have a lot of things offered to me in football. I still want to train hard and be the best player I can be. I want to be a dominating player in the fall."

JH: Was that at the Tennessee Titans training camp?

MR "No, Samari use to play for Tennessee but he now plays for the Baltimore Ravens. He still has a house in Tennessee and worked out in the area."

JH: How did you get hooked up with him?

MR: "He is a family friend, and he is from the Bahamas. Azuma Island in the Bahamas is the same island that I am from. We have been talking for about a year now and this wasn't something that recently developed. We talk about every month or so, and he is a real good guy. I really love him. He is humble, calm, but he knows how to have fun. He taught me a lot of things that I can use on the field, and it is the same way that Pete Hunter helps me on the field down here. I want to continue my relationship with Samari. He is a great guy and he is a Godly man and a man of Christ. I appreciate that very much.

"He is great family and one thing I like about him is that he went to Florida State, but not once did we talk about the Seminoles are anything like that. He always talked to me about making the right decision for myself and to make sure that I approach this thing the right way. I have to deal with the decisions that I make and I look forward to making the right one.

"He is a good player, and having all this recognition and all the attention people is something that he also gave me some advice on, like how to handle all the hype that goes along with being a football player as we know all to well. I really value our relationship and I get a lot out of it."

JH: When you are around players like Hunter and Rolle, do you ask them about the recruiting process or what they think about it?

MR: "I do ask them about the recruiting process. Both of those guys are different in the way they have gone through recruiting. Pete Hunter came out of high school and didn't have any offers. He ended up going to Virginia Union and did real well there. He was a fifth round draft pick and he came out and did well at the pro combine, but in high school he wasn't known that well.

"Then you have Samari Rolle coming out of Miami, who was a Parade All-American, Super Prep All-American and ranked the No. 1 defensive back in the country. I am almost in a similar position that he was. They both have basically said that I have to make the best decision for me.

"For Pete, Virginia Union was the right place for him because it gave him a platform to do what he had to do to compete and show himself out in front of scouts. For Samari, he really liked the time he had at Florida State and feels that experience prepared him for the league and doing what he had to do to be an All-Pro cornerback like he is. The decision they made was different as far as the path they took, but they both ended up in the NFL."

JH: You wanted to make visits to Florida and Florida State in May, but I guess they got pushed back a little bit?

MR: "I am going to Florida this Friday and Saturday, and then to Florida State later in June. A lot of the coaches in the office are going to be on vacation in July so it wouldn't be too good to be there in July. I am going to go to Florida State sometime in June."

JH: Have you recharged your batteries for those or are you slowly but surely narrowing some things down in your recruiting?

MR: "I am getting ready to go on those trips and I am interested to see what Urban Meyer and Florida has to offer. I have never been to Gainesville before and I hear a lot of good things about it. I have a real close friend and her father works in the medical school at Florida, so she always tells me about it. I have been anxious to go down there for a long time, and I know Coach Meyer is one of the hottest coaches in the country right now.

"They have a lot of momentum going into the season. They had 55,000 people at their spring game and they have been ranked high in the preseason polls as well. They are hot right now and I want to see what they have to offer.

"I went to Florida State this past fall to see their game against Florida.That was a pretty good visit as well and I got to see some pretty good things, but it wasn't as in depth as the three visits I had in May at Oklahoma, Miami and Michigan. So, I will have to get that experience there."

JH: What are some things that still roll through your head when you think about the Sooners?

MR: "Coach Wright came to my school last month. He was allowed one visit to my school and I didn't even know he was coming. I called Coach Stoops on the phone and he told me that Coach Wright was going to be swinging through there, but I didn't know the date. I was in the weight room and I see some guy with an OU shirt on with salt and pepper gray hair, and I was like, "Oh man, I recognize that guy. That is Coach Wright." So, I went over to him and said what is up and he was happy to see me, but he couldn't talk to me much because of NCAA rules.

"He told my coaches that he was taken back by the type of school that I went to. The type of environment here can be pretty impressive. If you ever come out and see this school you will see a wonderful majestic setting for a prep school with a lot of trees and old historic buildings. Coach Wright said that it was definitely a change of scenery for him. He told my coach that he was glad to find me in the weight room because that meant that I was working. I wish I could have talked to him more, but we only talked in passing because I can't talk to coaches on their visits to the school.

"I have called Coach Stoops about three or four times this month. Every time I talk to him he is a real good guy who talks about life and about some of the things that are going on with his program and his family. He told me when I was going down to Tennessee to look out for Rocky Calmus and Andre Woolfolk because they play for them. He also mentioned Brandon Jones."

JH: You are combining a strong academic presence with your football recruiting, so talk about how the combination of the two will work as you try to make a decision? Is one aspect stronger than the other in your decision making process?

MR: "That is a good question. I have to say that I wouldn't have put these five schools, and some other schools who are starting to creep in, if they didn't have what I wanted as far as a strong science program and being able to have some medical pursuits there like research and things like that. All that went into considering when I considered cutting my list down, and I feel that each one of the schools can offer me something academically. I can get something out of their academic program.

"Everybody always talks about this relationship with the school and how the school uses you for your football ability, but I am going to use the school for its educational purposes and to increase my knowledge. I will do this so that I can increase my financial standing later in life and gain more knowledge and be more intelligent. So, all the schools that I am looking at can do that for me. I know some of the schools in some people's minds have better academic reputations than others. But to me I am the only one that is going through school, and it is not all about how prestigious something looks. It is about being able to go to the school and get the most out of it as I possible can and work real hard.

"In talking to President (David) Boren (OU), I feel there are so many opportunities for me there at Oklahoma where I can pursue a great academic experience and get a lot of things done. I got the same feeling when talking with Joe Paterno at Penn State. He was telling me about the Science College and Honors College there. He said I could get involved in things like that. Personally, my position as a scholar/athlete going into a school, the schools that I am looking at were able to meet my academic needs, and that is why they are still on my list. Of course, football is a major part of it but I have to make sure that I can get done what I need in the classroom."

JH: Do you know what medical field that you are going into?

MR: "I like Neurology. Right now, that would be the specialty that I would go into but you don't do that until you through with your undergrad. I was fortunate to learn about the whole medical school process this summer when I attended the National Leadership Forum Conference in New Orleans. So, I got a little insight on it.

"I am not positive that Neurology will be the field of science that I go into, but right now that is the most interesting to me. I see myself in some aspect of the field of research that helps people and creates an avenue for people to be healthy and feel better about them own health. I want to be able to help kids in the community with what I know with my services in the community, and I want to help young black kids in the community and be a good role model for them."

JH: You mentioned that you have your same five schools, but you have some other schools that are creeping into your thoughts. What schools are those and just how serious are you about those schools?

MR: "Those schools are Georgia, Texas and Penn State. Those schools have continued to recruit me hard, while other schools have slacked off. I don't blame those schools because they figure they needed to move on. Actually, some of the schools that were recruiting me I told them that it was probably in their best interest to move on.

"I liked some of the things that Georgia had to offer as far as their aggressive defense. I enjoyed talking to Coach (Mark) Richt and am getting to know him. He is a real religious man and a good person. I have some family ties at Penn State, as my brother and my sister-in-law went to Penn State. Joe Paterno is still so very vibrant and upbeat. He knows what is going on there.

"At Texas, Coach (Duane) Akina has been recruiting me very hard. He was at the Nike combine watching me the whole time. He came there to just watch me, and that meant a lot to me. I like the way that Texas has produced some good defensive backs, especially with Coach Akina. He was at Arizona when they had some great defensive backfields and he has produced some NFL cornerbacks, which is a good thing.

"I am not sure if I am going to get down there this summer to Texas, Georgia and Penn State. It may be too late for them to get into the game, but they are still being considered. I have to look at them and evaluate them like I do the rest."

JH: As every day goes by I am sure you think about recruiting and your list of schools. What is the latest in your thoughts about the schools that you are still considering?

MR: "I am still on pretty good terms with each school that is recruiting me. I haven't seen any school emerge as a leader, but what I have seen in recent weeks are other schools starting to creep up in my mind as far as coming into my top list. I was solid with the first five that I have had and I felt really strong about those schools. I felt they offered everything that I needed, but I wasn't completely shutting down other schools. After evaluating those other three schools that I talk about I feel those three schools could offer the same things as the first five.

"As far as Oklahoma, specifically, nothing has changed. I still feel very strong about that school, the program and Coach Stoops. I know Coach Stoops said to me that he wishes that Oklahoma had gone last in my line of visits because he doesn't think anybody would have been able to match what they did as far as all the things that I was able to do on my visit. He feels they would not have thought about all that, which is true. The power of the internet got around and other schools have tried to copy what Oklahoma did, but like I said in the past Oklahoma has set the bar really high and they came out swinging.

"I have great respect for them for that, and I have always had great respect for Oklahoma because they were the first team to get this whole recruiting process for me started. After their offer my sophomore year, recruiting started to snow ball and things got really crazy. They were the first team to identify how good I was and I will not forget that."

JH: Did Coach Stoops call you during the month of May?

MR: "Yes, I talked to him Tuesday — the last day in May. That conversation was very good. He said that he wanted to be the last one to call me and that is why he waited for the last day in May. He waited late at night to call me so that we could make sure that we did get a chance to speak. I also talked to Coach Wright and he put me on the phone with the No. 1 golfer in the country who plays at OU (Anthony Kim) and he told me that I needed to come to Oklahoma and that it was a great place to be a student/athlete.

"I asked Coach Stoops where he saw me fitting into his defensive backfield at Oklahoma because right now I am 6-3 and 214 pounds. I can play multiple positions in the defensive backfield, but I prefer cornerback.He said, 'Look Myron, anybody that tells you that you can play a certain position right now without looking at you, coaching you, without having you go against top receivers and without coaching you in a college system on their field, is lying to you.'

"He said that they didn't know and that they would have to see. He said that when he got me there that he would put me in the best position on the field to make plays. He also feels that guys that really want to play a position will play that position with a little more passion because they like what they are doing. They will go at it a little harder because they enjoy what they are doing, and the results will be better. If they don't like what they are doing, or they don't like where they are, they are not going to play as well. That will play a part in his decision.

"He said that he would have to self evaluate me and he would have to get me on the field to put me through different things to see where I fit. He said that there was no doubt in his mind that I could play one of the positions in the secondary and that I could make an immediate impact. That was all good to hear and it was refreshing and reassuring as well."

JH: What kind of impact will the fact that Oklahoma was the first school to offer you have in your decision?

MR: "That will definitely factor into my decision. I went to Oklahoma first for a reason, and that was because they were first school to offer me. They deserved for me to go there first. Never did I expect to meet the President of the University or people in the medical field. I had a thorough talk with Teresa Turner, who heads the academic department for the football team.

"I had a chance to meet the players and ask them anything that I wanted. I got to meet Barry Switzer and I didn't expect any of those opportunities. I am definitely going to keep that in consideration because with a lot of guys they are always impressed with the last visit they go on. With Oklahoma, they did such a great job and I still understand how great of a program that it is — that they are still right up there with all these other schools that I am going to.

"I am able to factor through the freshness of the other schools because they are later in the process. I am not saying because I went to Oklahoma first that they are my leader or anything, but you can sort of look at it as a respect thing. I just had to see my boy Bob Stoops first. It was a good visit and I do feel if they went last that the other schools wouldn't have been able to copy or match what Oklahoma did.

"I know that for sure because coaches from a couple of other schools that I visited said to me that they didn't know if they could stay around me the whole time like Bob Stoops did, or if they could have me meet the President. They said that in a joking manner, but those guys definitely read the internet and they definitely know what is going on and were definitely trying to top what Oklahoma did. So, that is pretty cool as far as Oklahoma is concerned."


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