AFTER A gruelinginterview and a two-hour wait last Saturday, the real torture began for MyronRolle. The Florida State safety was sitting in an office in Mountain Brook,Ala., waiting to hear if he had been awarded a Rhodes Scholarship. DraytonNabers Jr., chairman of the District 7 selection committee, was announcing twowinners chosen from the 13 finalists interviewed that day. Nabers paused afterthe first name, Harvard's Parker Goyer. The three-second wait, says Rolle,"felt like an eternity."
For Rolle, ajunior from Galloway, N.J., who finished his premed degree in 2 1/2 years andreceived a grant for cancer research last summer, the wait was worth it. WhenNabers announced him as one of the 32 U.S. Scholars who can study at Oxford,Rolle bowed his head and thanked God—briefly: He had a plane to catch. In 2 1/2hours his team would face Maryland in College Park, and Rolle wanted to helpkeep the FSU's ACC Atlantic Division title hopes alive.
A Ford Excursioncarried Rolle to Birmingham International Airport, where a jet on loan fromOutback Steakhouse cofounder Bob Basham awaited. (The NCAA allowed Basham togive the flight as an in-kind donation to FSU's booster club.) Rolle settled inand discussed his Rhodes interview with a small group of reporters. Then heclicked on his iPod and allowed Frank Sinatra and Ice Cube to sing/rap him tosleep. By the time the jet touched down in Baltimore, the Seminoles and theTerrapins had kicked off. Rolle hopped into a University police pickup boundfor Byrd Stadium, and FSU fans gave him a standing O when he appeared late inthe first half. After Rolle's third play, back judge Tommy Pace walked over andshook his hand.
Rolle made twotackles, and FSU cruised to a 37--3 win. Afterward Rolle—still chilly from theGatorade bath his teammates gave him—had a hug-heavy reunion with his parentsand four brothers. Rolle's dad, Whitney, wore the biggest smile."Myron," he said, "has always been exceptional. Always."
December 1, 2008
NOW AT SI.COM
Read more from Andy Staples on Myron Rolle's Saturday adventure atSI.com/rolle.
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