'Awesome' week for Rolin at home, on USC visit

Linebacker commitment honored for Under Armour game selection

dmclemore@thestate.comOctober 10, 2012 

Matt Rolin

UNDER ARMOUR ALL-AMERICA GAME

Matt Rolin picked a historic weekend to take in his first South Carolina football game.

The Gamecocks defeated Georgia 35-7, the team’s largest margin of victory ever against the Bulldogs. With the win, USC is 6-0 for the third time in school history. It all happened in front of a record Williams-Brice Stadium of 85,199.

Rolin was there, and he enjoyed every minute of it.

“It was awesome,” said Rolin, a consensus four-star linebacker from Ashburn, Va., who committed to the Gamecocks on May 25. “I’ve never seen anything like that. It was the first Carolina game I’ve ever been to. Getting a win that big, I wasn’t expecting it.”

Rolin had a pretty historic week himself.

He celebrated his 18th birthday last Tuesday, Oct. 2. On Friday at Briar Woods High School, Rolin was recognized during the homecoming pep rally for his selection to the Under Armour All-America Game.

He capped his week at home with a two-touchdown, seven-tackle performance Friday night for the undefeated Falcons. It was the 6-foot-4, 215-pounder’s first time playing at tight end since an ankle injury sidelined him for three games earlier this year.

Last weekend he joined Raleigh quarterback Connor Mitch for official visits to South Carolina. Both plan to enroll early in Columbia.

“I would have done it in January if I wasn’t enrolling early,” he said. “I figured if I was enrolling early I might as well get it out of the way.”

Rolin’s parents and grandparents graduated from USC, and he still has relatives in Irmo. He spent part of Saturday tailgating with family.

On his visit he spent time with Mitch and fellow future Gamecocks Devin Washington (defensive end, Orlando, Fla.) and David Johnson (defensive end, Lithonia, Ga). USC freshman offensive lineman Mason Zandi was Rolin’s host and showed him around campus. Rolin also took in the Gamecock Walk with Mitch.

Rolin was already recognized by Gamecock fans. He estimated that around 50 fans yelled his name or approached him for autographs and photos.

“The last week was awesome,” he said. “It was one of the best weekends I’ve had in a long time.”

Rolin is ranked No. 77 in the ESPNU150 and seventh-best outside linebacker prospect by ESPN. He picked the Gamecocks over Virginia Tech, Florida State, Florida and Georgia.

He spent time Saturday with Steve Spurrier, his recruiter Shawn Elliott and future position coach Kirk Botkin.

“Coach Botkin told me to be ready and come compete for a spot because they’re graduating four senior linebackers,” Rolin said. “He said the spot is open, to be ready to come in and work and compete.”

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