Exactly one year ago, Quinten Rollins was in the middle of his fourth season as a guard for the Miami University basketball team. He was ranked 14th in the country in steals per game with 2.4. By the time his basketball career was finished he had accumulated 214 steals, good for second in Miami history and 12th in Mid-American Conference history. He was the only player in RedHawks history to record two seven-steal games. He won the team's Defensive Player of the Year award for the third season in a row.
It was also during this time that Chuck Martin was announced as the next head football coach at Miami.
During the summer, Rollins expressed interest in helping the football team out. Rollins lettered in football all four years at Wilmington High School, serving as captain for three of those years. He was a three-time first-team all-conference selection, and he also was named 2009 FAVC Co-Athlete of the Year for football.
Martin heard about "Q," as he is called, and evaluated him. "He looked like an NFL corner," Martin said in an interview with NCAA.com. "You keep watching him play basketball and his instincts of anticipating where the ball is going to go and being one step ahead of the passer and then being lightning quick to go play the ball. It was easy after about three trips down the court to see he was a major, major athletic corner."
Fun Fact: Rollins is the only known college athlete to score a basket at Duke's Cameron Indoor and intercept a pass at The Big House.
Rollins got off to an impressive start in his first collegiate season, recording an interception against Eastern Kentucky, Michigan, and two against Cincinnati. He sat at third in the nation in interceptions after four weeks. His most impressive games came against the biggest opponents, recordeing 8 tackles twice (at Cincinnati and at Akron) and 9 tackles twice (at Buffalo and versus Western Michigan). Rollins recorded his first career pick-six in the season finale against Ohio. He finished with two interceptions and six tackles in his last game as a RedHawk.
Rollins' ability to interpret passes on the hardwood has certainly carried over to the turf. He is an all-around athlete.
Heath Harding, a sophomore for the RedHawks who was once a cornerback himself before being moved to safety, said, "His ball skills are like I've never seen before. It was weird because early on I was trying to help him learn the game, but then it turned into me asking Q for advice."
Rollins' athleticism was able to carry him through a season of college football, but he still has much to work on, a majority of which will simply come from experience. In their Meet the Prospect feature, CBS Sports attests that Rollins "tends to lose sight of the ball and focuses on the wide receiver off the snap." He also "plays a lot of press, but doesn't make contact near the line of scrimmage and needs coached up with his jam technique."
Rollins readies himself for a play against Eastern Kentucky. (Photo by Jeremy O'Brien/Miami University Athletics)
Again, these are things that will be taken care of the more he becomes accustomed to the position. Rollins will need to work hard in the offseason to prepare for the intensity of the next level. This, however, is something that should not be too difficult for him.
"Another thing that stood out was his work ethic," Harding continued. "He wasn't going to use the fact that it was his first year as an excuse for his lack of knowledge. He was always in the film room trying to get better and get the upper hand."
You can see a highlight video of Rollins' amazing first season below. You can also see him in action at the 2015 Reese's Senior Bowl on Saturday, January 24 at 4:00 p.m. EST on NFL Network.