ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – The Trump Plaza is where gamblers from all over the country come to strike it rich, but on Thursday afternoon Bobby Bowden came away with the biggest jackpot of them all. Princeton (N.J.) The Hun School five-star athlete Myron Rolle announced in front of a national television audience in the Plaza's Imperial Room that he was heading to Florida State.
Rolle, who is 6-foot-2 and 214 pounds, is ranked as the No. 1 athlete in the nation and the No. 3 player overall according to Rivals.com. His recruitment was nothing short of a roller-coaster ride with much of it twists and turns being played out under the constant glare of the national media.
Heading into Thursday's announcement six teams – Florida, Florida State, Miami, Michigan, Oklahoma and Penn State – all felt like they had a chance to land Rolle, so it was only fitting that he threw everybody for one final loop by keeping his choice quiet all the way until the end.
"I'm going to Florida State University," Rolle said.
"There were a lot of reasons that went into Florida State. I think Florida State combined the best academics and athletics for me. When I went there for a visit, I just felt it was a tremendous place. I thought I could get all my academic goals done, which are to graduate in three years in a science program as well as develop on the football field as a player."
Rolle first burst onto the national recruiting scene before his sophomore season had even started. That's when he shocked everybody in attendance at Oklahoma's summer camp in 2003. Nobody knew who Rolle was heading into the camp, but by the time he left he had an oral offer from Sooner coach Bob Stoops.
"That was exciting," Rolle said in his first ever interview with Rivals.com minutes after the Oklahoma camp completed. "This is really, really new to me, but I already like it."
Indeed he did.
Rolle would go on to become one of the most highly-covered recruits with more then 65 articles written about him over the past three years on Rivals.com. He also appeared in numerous national magazine and television shows, but what was most impressive about Rolle is that he did not let the attention get to his head.
He's a strong student in the classroom with a perfect 4.0 grade-point average and his future has medical scrubs and research grants along with football pads and Super Bowls.
"Basically it was in fifth grade," he said talking about when he realized what he wanted to do with the rest of his life. "We had talked a little bit about the brain, how even the wiggle of your toes was controlled. We had to move quickly through the curriculum. I kept asking the teacher, 'Can we go back over this?' "
Rolle has been fascinated with neurology ever since. He sees medicine not just as an avenue for moneymaking, but also as a channel for public service. And in the end he felt Florida State was the best fit for him to reach those goals.
"I think Mickey Andrews is one of the best defensive back coaches in the nation, if not the best," Rolle said. "Florida State has a long line of tradition for defensive backs, and I'm just happy that I can be part of it."
Rivals.com will have much more on Rolle's decision, including exclusive photos from the press conference shortly. Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Jeremy Crabtree contributed to this report.