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Wednesday, January 9, 2013
LB Rolin's switch a tough choice

By Derek Tyson

Matt Rolin, Cindy Rolin
Matt Rolin said his mother, Cindy, is warming to the idea of her son being a Gator.

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Four-star linebacker Matt Rolin (Ashburn, Va./Briar Woods) enrolled at Florida on Monday, but his path to get to Gainesville wasn't an easy one.

Rolin's parents, grandparents, aunt and uncle all graduated from South Carolina, the school he had previously committed to before switching to Florida on Dec. 9. The 6-foot-4, 209-pound athlete said he was thankful that his family did not pressure him to stay committed to the Gamecocks.

"It was very hard. My family handled it well though," Rolin said. "They didn't pressure me to stay at South Carolina, they let me make the decision on my own. I'm really thankful that they didn't pressure me in to anything."

Though Rolin's parents accepted his decision, he said it will be tough for a family full of Gamecocks to root for the Gators.

"My mom has some Florida stuff, my dad has some, but my grandparents, aunts and uncles -- I don't think they will be buying any Florida stuff," Rolin laughed. "They will support me but they don't like the Gators. They are South Carolina fans."

Rolin admits it was a tough decision to make, but ultimately he felt he would be more comfortable playing at Florida.

"I see myself playing outside linebacker," Rolin said. "They are going to start me off inside, but coach [Will] Muschamp and coach [Dan] Quinn told me that I could play all four of the linebacker positions. They said I could grow in to the buck position by the time I'm a sophomore or junior. I'd love to play the buck and just rush the quarterback. That's what I love to do."

Like his family, Gators coaches didn't lean on him too strongly either.

"I just loved everything about Florida," Rolin said. "When I took a visit there, I was really impressed with the coaches and how they were treating me. They weren't really pressuring me into decommitting -- they were just saying to do what's best for you.

"Coach Muschamp gave me some really good advice. He said, 'The decision you will make will be one of the toughest decisions of your life. Don't let anyone pressure you. You have to make the decision for yourself.' I also feel like I fit in really well in their defense."

As a senior in high school, Rolin accounted for 43 tackles on defense and also added six receptions for 100 yards and four touchdowns on offense. The talented athlete says he could end up playing any of Florida's four linebacker positions.

Rolin recently had surgery to repair a torn ACL in his knee. He said he will miss spring football and his availability for the fall is still in question.