- Dave Hooker, Reporter, RecruitingNation
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When other schools come calling, Matt Rolin listens ... sort of. That's about the best he can offer.
Since committing to South Carolina in May, many schools have taken the hint and stopped contacting Rolin. Some haven't. That's understandable. Landing an Under Armour All-American can bring out the desperation in most any program.
"Florida is coming after me pretty hard," said Rolin, who received his Under Armour All-America Game jersey during a presentation on Friday morning as a part of the American Family Insurance Tour. "Florida State is coming after me pretty hard. I'd say Tennessee is about the only other one. I'd say those three schools. Florida is coming after me the hardest."
Good luck Gators, Seminoles and Volunteers. You'll need it. Rolin's ties to South Carolina seem unbreakable. The ESPN 150 prospect from Ashburn (Va.) Briar Woods has grandparents who live in Columbia. His parents both graduated from South Carolina. When non-South Carolina recruiters call, Rolin just tries to let them down easy.
"I tell them I'm committed to Carolina and that I'm a solid commit," he said. "I just try to be nice and say thanks for giving me the opportunity."
In fact, the Rolin family couldn't ask for a better opportunity. Certainly, the family ties are great but so is the chance to play in the SEC for an up-and-coming program that is 5-0 this season and ranked sixth in all the major polls.
"I'm real happy for them," Rolin said. "They're doing great. The defense is doing great."
Part of South Carolina's defensive success is based on size. That should be a perfect fit for Rolin.
"I love their defense," the 6-foot-4, 209-pound linebacker said. "They play with intensity. Their defense is huge. The linebackers are huge. The defensive ends are huge. ... I really like that defense."
Rolin has also come up huge this season, when healthy. After the first game of the season, he suffered a sprained ankle in practice and was forced to miss three games. Rolin returned two weeks ago. In the two games since, he has registered 23 tackles, including 10 for loss.
Rolin is healthy enough now that he plans to unleash another facet of his repertoire: The nation's 77th overall prospect and seventh-best outside linebacker will likely play offense in Briar Woods' game against Purcellville (Va.) Woodgrove on Friday. Chances are that endeavor will be a success. At tight end/receiver, Rolin caught two touchdown passes in Briar Woods' season opener.
Rolin's time on offense is running out, though. He'll graduate in December so he can enroll at South Carolina in January. Then, he'll be a linebacker full time.
"My family is excited and I'm excited, too," Rolin said of being committed to South Carolina. "I'll be there this weekend."
After Rolin attends South Carolina's game versus Georgia on Saturday, the Gamecocks' highest-rated commitment won't have to find a hotel or drive all the way home. He can stay at his grandparents' house just down the road. No other school can compete with that, and Rolin knows it. Now if college recruiters would just get the hint.
ESPN 150 linebacker Matt Rolin is certain about his commitment to South Carolina, but now that he is an Under Armour All-American recruiters from other programs are trying even harder to pry him away.