Q&A with Former Florida State Star Myron Rolle

Myron Rolle is a pretty special guy.

The college football season has kicked off and the NFL regular season is right around the corner. But despite being one of the most talented defensive backs in the nation, you won't see Rolle on the field this fall.

Last November, the All-ACC safety for the Florida State Seminoles was chosen to be a Rhodes Scholar and earned a scholarship to study at Oxford University in England. Oxford is known as one of the best universities in the world, and previous Rhodes Scholars who have studied there include former President Bill Clinton.

Rolle graduated from FSU in just two and a half years with a pre-med degree and a 3.75 grade point average and plans to become a neurogsurgeon after his football career is over. Eventually, he hopes to open a clinic in the Bahamas, where his parents and three eldest brothers were born.

Rolle decided to accept the scholarship rather than enter the 2009 draft. As a result, he’ll skip football for a year and focus on getting his Masters degree in medical anthropology. When he isn't studying, Rolle will train for the 2010 NFL Draft.

Rolle talked with SI KIDS about the biggest choice of his life...

SIK: What’s more difficult, studying human anatomy or the University of Florida’s spread offense?
Rolle: Oh man, I’d say the anatomy. The Gators are hard to defend, but the anatomy, man, you have to remember so many muscles and bones and joints and things.

SIK: I understand that it took you awhile to decide whether you were going to accept the scholarship.
Rolle: It was a choice I had to make. Initially, when I got the scholarship, I felt, “Yeah, I’m going to Oxford. This is a done deal. I worked very hard for this, an opportunity to study among some of the greatest scholars in the world and read some books that I’ve never read in my life.” [But] as my name started to grow in NFL circles, as people started to say I could be a first round pick, that started to make me think a little bit more. But when I looked at where I want my life to be five or ten years from now, I said, Man this Rhodes Scholarship experience is phenomenal. It could set me up for an even brighter future.

SIK: What will you be studying while you’re over there?
Rolle: Medical anthropology. It looks at the social and cultural aspects of medicine, really addressing the global health issues that are happening around the world.  It will allow me to travel to underdeveloped countries and help with their medical infrastructure. I’m particularly interested in mental health disorders: Parkinson’s, epilepsy, seizures, Alzheimer’s Disease, things like that. A lot of times those diseases and illnesses aren’t paid enough attention to because those countries have more serious things to deal with. But there needs to be some kind of attention paid to the other illnesses and diseases. 

SIK: How difficult will it be to get your training in while you’re studying at Oxford?
Rolle: I don’t think it will be too difficult. A friend of mine named Garrett Johnson won the Rhodes Scholarship in 2006. He is an Olympic-caliber shot-putter.  When he was over in England, he trained, worked out, and [tried to qualify] for the 2008 Olympics. He said the training facilities weren’t as good as Florida State’s, but they were sufficient enough.

SIK: Paint a picture for me of the day when you learned you were a Rhodes Scholar.
Rolle: That was a memorable day. I don’t know if I can ever forget it. I woke up around 9 a.m., and my interview wasn’t until 12:50.  I turned on ESPN and it had on the College Gameday segment about my Rhodes Scholar pursuits. The night before my father told me to keep everything pretty routine. So I got up, stretched, prayed, took a 30-minute shower, envisioned myself making plays, interceptions, running for touchdowns, even doing touchdown celebrations, and stuff like that.  I always do that before a game. I got to the interview site around 11:30 or so. We were in a board room. It was me and the 12 other finalists waiting for our turn to go. Some had already gone so I was eavesdropping on their conversations. How the interview went. Are the panelists tough?  Did they grill you? What did they ask you?  Some people gave me good feedback, some said it was really, really hard. It was a 20-minute interview. They asked me questions about healthcare in the United States, Barack Obama and his lack of experience, and favorite books that I want to read.

SIK: So they had done their homework on you…
Rolle: They had everything right in front of me:  My personal statement, résumé, application, some stories written about me. They were pretty prepared.

SIK: How nervous were you?
Rolle: I was very nervous going in. I wasn’t too sure what the questions were going to be, but afterward, I felt pretty comfortable that I had done well. Two hours after I finished my interview they came in and lined up in front of us. They called out the name of the first winner.  It wasn’t me. I waited about three seconds and then they called my name. I signed some papers and then rushed to the airport so that I could get to the game in Maryland.

SIK: And I read that you actually did schoolwork on the flight from Maryland back to Tallahassee, Florida.
Rolle: Oh yeah, I did. A little assignment that I had to finish up for my Masters. I had to get it done. That whole week I was crammed with preparation for the interview and all that stuff.  I really didn’t have any time [to do homework].  So once I won the game, I was like now I can do a little work.

SIK: Have you ever dissected a brain?
Rolle: I’ve studied the brain but have never dissected one.

SIK: Are you looking forward to it?
Rolle: I am. It will be fun to actually get my hands on the real thing.

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