By Chris Mahr | Shutdown Corner – Mon, Apr 22, 2013 11:35 AM EDT
As scores of college football players anxiously await their fates between now and this week’s three-day NFL draft, former Florida State safety Myron Rolle bides his time in anticipation of something else: Whether or not he is accepted to medical school.
“Within 10 days or so I should hear back from a few,” Rolle said last week over the phone from the Philadelphia offices of a managed care organization, AmeriHealth Caritas, where he is four weeks into an administrative fellowship. “I don’t know where I’ll be, but I know I’m looking for schools with good neurosurgery programs in places where I want to live.”
Now 26, Rolle would be lying if he said he expected that this would be the path his life would take.ESPN’s top prospect in the Class of 2006 out of The Hun School in Princeton, NJ, Rolle had initially planned to spend a couple years in Tallahassee, another decade or so playing in the NFL and then embark on a career devoted to medicine and philanthropy.
[See also: Top 50 NFL draft busts: Where are they now?]
Instead, he started on his post-football life after just two-plus NFL seasons, largely because Rolle opted for a Rhodes Scholarship instead of the 2009 NFL Draft. And from the sounds of it, he couldn’t be happier.
Rolle’s embrace of life outside of football always set him apart, both as a highly touted high school prospect and with the Seminoles. His combination of academics and philanthropy — he earned his FSU bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science in just 2 ½ years with a 3.75 GPA and long spoke about opening a medical clinic in his parents’ native Bahamas — was a huge part of his college experience.
It’s worth noting, however, that Rolle put in just as much work on the gridiron. He was a First Team Freshman All-American in 2006 and earned both Third Team All-America and Second Team All-ACC honors in 2008, his final season in Tallahassee. And NFL scouts definitely took notice.
“My junior season was really strong,” Rolle said. “I was told that I would go in the second round. Then I called my cousin Samari (a former Seminoles cornerback and 12-year NFL veteran) and asked him what he was feeling. His scout on the Ravens told him that I was a second-rounder, too.”
What Rolle hadn’t anticipated was having to choose between two childhood dreams: The NFL and a prestigious Rhodes Scholarship for postgraduate studies at Oxford University in England.
It shocked many when Rolle delayed the former in favor of the latter by passing on the 2009 draft to study at Oxford.
“When I was in high school, I used to play basketball at Jadwin Gym on Princeton’s campus,” Rolle said. “And I remember seeing a trophy case devoted to Bill Bradley. I saw that he was a Rhodes Scholar and the epitome of a student athlete. He became my role model in a way.”