COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Florida State safety Myron Rolle often has joked that people have expected him to be a combination of Deion Sanders and Albert Einstein.
Well, he has one on both those guys.
Rolle began his Saturday in Birmingham, Ala., where, after an interview, he learned he had earned a Rhodes Scholarship, the oldest and most renowned award for international study, created in 1902. It funds two or three years at Oxford University in England. Only 32 Americans are selected each year, two each from 16 districts.
"I feel very fortunate to have been selected as a Rhodes Scholar," he said. "I've learned so much just by going through the process of application and interviews, and I am a better person for it. The interview process requires candidates to evaluate their long-term goals and plans, and it has made me think about how I can make the most impact in terms of service to society."
Florida State coach Bobby Bowden said he felt he got two wins Saturday, the first being Rolle's.
"When we found out he won the Rhodes Scholarship, to me it was like, 'We got one already; now if we can get this other,' " Bowden said.
"It was very big to me, our staff, of course to him, his family, and our team was really excited about that."
FSU officials asked for and received permission from the NCAA to charter a plane so Rolle could fly to College Park, Md., for the game against the Terrapins after his interview. Rolle got on the field and added two tackles, both coming in the waning minutes and drawing a chant of "My-ron Rolle" from the FSU fans in the stands.
Rolle joins Caroline Alexander (1976); Garrett Johnson from Tampa (2005), a track and field All-American; and Joe O'Shea from Dunedin (2007) as the only Seminoles to earn a Rhodes.
Rolle, who graduated in August after 2½ years with a degree in exercise science and a 3.75 grade point average, plans to be a neurosurgeon and practice in impoverished countries.
His feat comes a month after FSU appeared before the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions for an academic misconduct scandal that involved 61 student-athletes and three former employees.
"Florida State University's most treasured values of strength, skill and character live in Myron Rolle," school president T.K. Wetherell said.