Briar Woods linebacker Matt Rolin verbally committed to South Carolina on Friday, ending a whirlwind offseason that saw the junior go from a relatively unknown commodity to one of the area’s top defensive prospects.
Rolin made the announcement on Twitter, where he wrote: “Can’t spell South caROLINa without Rolin! Committed to The University of South caROLINa!!!!”
A heavy hitter with the ability to rush the passer, plug holes to stop the run and drop in coverage, Rolin was a key cog in a defense that led the Falcons to consecutive Virginia AA Division 4 championships. He selected Steve Spurrier’s Gamecocks out of 25 offers including Florida State, Florida, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Michigan, Virginia and Virginia Tech.
In the end, South Carolina’s recent success and family ties to the school and region factored into Rolin’s decision. Both of Rolin’s parents graduated from USC and he stopped by the school to make his commitment official while visiting relatives for the holiday weekend.
“South Carolina was always in the mix because of the family connection,” Briar Woods Coach Charlie Pierce said. “And with how successful they’ve been the last two years under Spurrier, that made them very enticing.”
The 6-foot-4, 210-pound All-State selection had nine tackles in the Falcons’ state final win against Christiansburg and finished the season with a team-high 90 tackles, six sacks and 16 1/2 tackles for a loss. He also came up with two interceptions, a pair of fumble recoveries and a safety and blocked a kick. At tight end, Rolin caught 10 passes for 207 yards and three touchdowns.
Earlier this month he accepted an invitation to the 2012 Under Armour All-American Game and the flood of coach visits — from Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster to Ohio State staff members including former New England Patriot Mike Vrabel — hit its peak over the last few weeks.
“Outside linebacker is where he’s going to play,” Pierce said. “And his length and his versatility at that position really made him attractive. When you have a kid who can do all the things he can, you can have him on the field in any situation.”
Last month Rolin appeared in the ESPN 150, which comprises the top football players from the 2013 class. Rolin ranked 104th nationally.
Rolin’s decision comes four days after another highly-recruited Ashburn defensive standout, Stone Bridge lineman Jonathan Allen, committed to Alabama. Rolin’s older brother, Scott, is a free safety at Virginia Tech.