College athletes switching schools is a relatively common event. But an athlete switching sports? That’s rarely seen. Yet it is exactly what Quinten Rollins is doing.
Rollins has spent the last four seasons playing point guard for Miami basketball, but will be playing football for head coach Chuck Martin next season. Rollins will play cornerback for the RedHawks.
It’ll be a new experience for Rollins, who hasn’t played football since his senior year of high school.
“I’m gonna give it a try,” Rollins said. “I played in high school, but the difference between college in high school are two totally different games. I know it is for basketball and I can only imagine what it is for football.”
Rollins has a year of eligibility remaining and said he was open to playing football. Martin said director of basketball operations Sean Mock called him to see if there was any interest from Martin’s side. There was, and once Martin watched some tape of Rollins from high school and talked with him it was a done deal. Martin said this has been planned for about two months.
Martin said he doesn’t have many expectations for Rollins just one day into spring practice.
“Nothing really, we’ll just see,” Martin said. “He’s a ridiculous athlete. His skill set is good enough to play college football. But he hasn’t played since high school and he played mostly offense, now he’s playing corner. So really nothing. We just told him to come out here and enjoy it and get comfortable and get coached up and kinda of walk before you run so we’ll see how it goes. Hopefully he can start to figure it out and become a pretty good player for us.”
Martin said he expects some of the elements of Rollins’ defensive prowess on the court to translate to the man-to-man coverage he’ll play on the field. He was a talented high school football player for Wilmington High School, where he was a three-time first-team all-FAVC and was the 2009 football co-athlete of the year playing mostly on offense.
Rollins said his first day of spring practice was difficult at times.
“I was confused sometimes,” Rollins said. “I’d hear the calls and then I’d be confused and have to look back to the safeties, ‘like what are we doing?” They helped me out, and as long as I have some help out here until I get the calls on my own, and know what’s going on I should be fine.”
Rollins said he’ll be playing corner, at least for now.
“To start off at least [I’ll play CB] and then see what I can do there,” Rollins said. “But they’ll probably utilize me and see what I can do on offense, give me a shot to do something on offense. Just gotta learn the basics of defense first.”
Rollins said he wouldn’t mind returning punts, but isn’t a fan of returning kicks.
No matter what position Rollins plays, he’s in rare company by switching sports in his final season. The most recent notable player to do the same was Greg Paulus, who transferred from Duke to play quarterback at Syracuse.
“I’m getting both sides of the spectrum in the two major sports in college,” Rollins said. “That’s definitely gonna be a story I can tell one day.”