A lot has changed for Quinten Rollins since stepping on the Miami University campus as a freshman in the fall of 2010.
He spent his first two seasons playing in the Miami University men’s basketball program under legendary head coach Charlie Coles. Rollins underwent the transition to current head coach John Cooper, playing his final two seasons of hoops and serving as a two-year team captain under Coach Cooper’s leadership.
He has seen many teammates enjoy four-year careers with the RedHawks and has also seen some leave early as well, as the only member of his recruiting class to play out his four years of basketball at Miami. He also became a father to a now nearly four-year-old little girl, and the apple of his eye, Quinlyn.
There have been highs. There have been lows. There have been struggles and frustrations. There have been good times and triumphs. There have been no shortage in tests of determination and plenty of lessons along the way.
And now, Quinten Rollins is amidst yet another set of transitions at Miami, making the move from the hardwood to the gridiron and moving from the offensive side of the ball, which he played in high school, to defense.
“I’ve definitely matured over the years. I’m more focused now and trying to make a career out of (football),” commented Rollins. “After four years of basketball and going into this one year of football, I’m just trying to learn the game and continue to get better each time I step on the field.”
Using his adaptability will be a key asset for Rollins, who will have just one season in his collegiate football career.
“There is definitely a sense of urgency for me,” said Rollins. “Coming off of an 0-12 season last year, I wasn’t a part of the team, but I inherit that record coming into this year. I feel like last year we got the basketball program moving in the right direction, and I believe they will be set this year. In football, I’m trying to do the same. Make an impact and do whatever I can to help the team win and just keep guys moving forward in the right direction so this program can get back in the right direction as well.
“Obviously, I was recruited by Coach Coles and his staff,” continued Rollins. “I had a choice coming out of high school to play either football or basketball, but I chose basketball. After my sophomore year in college (after Coach Coles retired), I thought maybe I should pursue the football path, but I didn’t really have people to lead me in that direction and guide me through it. I stuck with basketball, and I’m so happy that I did because it’s taught me a lot. I learned a lot from Coach Cooper and his staff, and I know they are going to get that program going in the right direction, and I just can’t wait to get this program going in the right direction too.”
It has been a little over four months since Rollins stepped on the football field, and he has had to quickly re-acclimate to football and adapt to playing defensive back at the collegiate level.
“I’ve come a long way, but I’m not where I want to be. I gave up a touchdown (during Monday’s practice), which I don’t like doing, but it’s something I have to build on for the future and just learn from and keep growing. I feel like I’m just starting to get my feet wet and under me, so I’m happy where I’m at, but I’m not satisfied.”
Although Rollins gave up a touchdown during the first practice of preseason camp on Monday, he also picked off the first pass of practice for a touchdown.
“Quinten is a hard-working guy and a big competitor,” said senior quarterback Andrew Hendrix. “He’s going to be a great addition for us this year. He made an aggressive play on one of my throws, and I managed to beat him later on. That’s how we are going to get better both offensively and defensively. I won’t make that throw again, and he won’t get thrown off when I bait him out of position.”
In addition to spending a lot of time in the film room to quickly help get up to speed, Rollins also turned to the quarterbacks to help him develop in his role.
“I’ve spent a lot of time talking with the quarterbacks,” remarked Rollins. “Seeing what they see on the other side of the ball. Learning how they see me as a defender, what they look for and what they see as the weak points in my game.”
Another part of the transition for Rollins was adding 25 pounds to his frame and getting his body football ready.
“Weight training was definitely different, more up-tempo,” said Rollins of his last several months with the football program. “With football, it was more to gain strength and mass. Just trying to get my body right to play football. I’ve definitely adjusted and feel good. I’ve put on weight and am eating better.”
Although Rollins is a first-year football player with the RedHawks, because he is a fifth-year student-athlete at Miami his maturity and experiences give him perspective and have allowed him to approach this new challenge with greater self-awareness.
“I feel like it’s made me a man. I came here a boy,” commented Rollins on his time at Miami. “Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about myself from the academic standpoint of managing time and managing myself. I really appreciate everything the University and Miami Athletics has done for me.
“I just want to say that I gave everything I had to sports. Whether it’s on the field or off the field helping teammates,” added Rollins on how he wants to remember his Miami career. “And being loyal. That’s a thing I really believe in is loyalty. And I think that is one thing that I’ve been to Miami is loyal.”