The Florida Gators received an early Christmas present when long-time University of South Carolina commitment Matt Rolin, with very deep Gamecock family ties, switched his commitment to Florida.
The four-star 6-foot-4, 205-pound linebacker is one of four linebackers that the Gators signed in the class of 2013 and is arguably one of the most athletic players at his position in the country.
The Ashburn, VA native brings speed, coverage ability, sound mechanics and tackling to the position. Rolin is still coming off of surgery on his left leg anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), which was actually performed by University of South Carolina team doctor, Dr. Jeffrey Guy.
Rolin, who participated in “The Opening” and was selected to the 2013 Under Armour All-American Game, was a first-team all-state linebacker as a junior. Rolin was on pace for a similar accolade with his 43 tackles during his senior year, before going down with his season-ending knee injury.
Analyzing film from Matt Rolin comes with the caveat that he comes back from his surgery as healthy, if not more, than he was before his surgery.
Rolin is a physical, aggressive linebacker with great speed and athleticism that separates good players and great players. Rolin has proven that he can be valuable in both run support and pass protection, as well as, shows great football IQ and diagnosing skills.
At only 205 pounds, Rolin shows great power in his tackling, but also is fundamentally strong wrapping-up ball carriers rather than simply driving his shoulder. On the same note, Rolin displays great strength getting off blockers, and he can still add a lot of weight and muscle to his frame. As a January early-enrollee, Rolin will have ample time to add weight and work on his upper-body strength, while continuing to rehab his knee.
Furthermore, Rolin has incredible athleticism that is prevalent in his speed, agility, acceleration, and balance that allows him cover enormous space, quickly closing in on the ball carrier. In coverage, Rolin’s speed gives him the opportunity to cover more ground than most outside linebackers can. I would not be surprised to see Rolin match up with “Z” receivers on certain packages. On the flipside in run support, Rolin has a great initial burst after diagnosing the play, in which he can penetrate gaps in the offensive line and close in on the ball carrier. Coupling his quick burst, with the aforementioned strength, Rolin will be a tough block for the tight end or running back that would pick up the linebacker.
Equally, if not more important, Rolin shows great intangibles. He quickly reads plays, reacts quickly, and is not fooled easily.
Rolin will have a great career in the SEC; how quickly he makes an impact, however, will depend on his recovery from his ACL injury. Rolin has the tools to be an All-American, or at worst, All-SEC.
Matt Rolin Senior Highlights: