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Football Rhodes Scholar Myron Rolle Chooses Education Over Millions

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Myron Rolle isn't a household name quite yet, but give him a few years. At just 22, Rolle has two degrees, a promising professional football career, and was recently selected as a Rhodes Scholar, one of the country's most prestigious academic honors which will allow him to study medical anthropology at Oxford University for a year. When he's not hitting the books, he's making his mark on the football field.

He's smart, athletic, goal-oriented and devoted to giving back to his community. So why is this brother still single? ESSENCE.com made it our mission to find out and spoke to Rolle about his decision to walk away from millions as a first round draft pick in the NFL, being an over-achiever and the kind of woman that will turn his head.

ESSENCE.COM: You graduated from high school a semester early while maintaining a 4.0 GPA. You finished college in less than three years. You're taking graduate courses and about to study as a Rhode Scholar in England. Are you some kind of genius?
MYRON ROLLE: No, I just prioritized and knew that I wanted to do well in school. I've always had this competitive nature that made me feel like I want to win in the classroom and on the football field. Whenever it's time to get serious about school and study, I would focus all of my attention on that. I never had problems balancing or managing a lot of things in my life. When I decided to attend Florida State, it was because they were pretty much the only school that assured me that I could graduate in three years or less in a pre-med program and set myself up for an NFL career. They also assured me that I would have opportunities to get involved with the community. Looking back, I think I made a great decision.

ESSENCE.COM: What does it mean to be selected as one of just 32 Rhode Scholars?
ROLLE: I thought you had to be a genius to be a Rhode Scholar, so I never imagined it was in the realm of possibility. Then when I got to Florida State I met with some people who said that I would be a worthy candidate. So I went through the application and interview processes and ended up winning. The day I interviewed was remarkable. It was a game day that evening but I flew out to the interview, sat in front of six Rhode Scholar judges, and after two hours, they came out and called my name. I got back on a plane and rushed back to Maryland where my team was playing. We won that game and it was just a moment that I will never forget. It really just changed my life.

ESSENCE.COM: Some people think you're crazy for walking away from potentially being drafted into the NFL to go study at Oxford. Are you sure you made the right decision?
ROLLE: Believe me, I toyed with this decision for a long time. People were talking about money in the millions, so once I started hearing from scouts, I thought about my family. We've never been wealthy; my parents could retire and I could buy the car I've always wanted. It was all very appealing, but I thought about what I wanted to do with my life and my goals and I feel like studying at Oxford will give me that. If I didn't take this opportunity to become a Rhode Scholar, I feel like I would have woken up one day and regretted it. This was something that I just couldn't pass up.

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ESSENCE.COM: But you still want to play football, right?
ROLLE: Yes, I don't think my skills are going to wane after one year. I'm going to continue to train while I'm away. You know, I'm watching some of my friends practice in front of all the scouts now and I think, Wow I would have been one of those guys getting drafted in April. I'm not going to lie, it was tough seeing that. It's going to pain me even more to know that I'm not going to be putting on a helmet or cleats, but the impact I can make on so many lives quells that frustration and disappointment completely.

ESSENCE.COM: Your goal is to eventually become a neurosurgeon. Why is becoming a doctor so important to you?
ROLLE: I love science but I also feel that this is a profession that would allow me to have an impact on the community. Medicine will never go away. People will always need medical assistance, and I would like to work both domestically and globally, giving myself to the community so I can touch lives through my expertise and skills as a doctor and also give awareness to global issues like diseases that may not be treated in certain parts impoverished parts of the world. I'm looking forward to that.

ESSENCE.COM: If you couldn't be a football star or a medical hero, what would you want to do with your life?
Rolle: I'd be a politician. I just feel that public service is so important and giving back, being a role model and helping people in need is something that I would love to do. Plus, Barack Obama set a pretty good precedent.

ESSENCE.COM: Do you have a girlfriend?
ROLLE: No, I don't. But I think I'm a pretty fun guy. I love women who can get wrapped up in intelligent conversation for hours. I'm an athlete, so I love health and fitness. I'm not too picky but I like a woman who's able to communicate with me on a level that's interesting.

ESSENCE.COM: What about a secret celebrity crush?
ROLLE: I've always had a thing for Angela Bassett! She's so strong, went to Yale, she's beautiful, fit and just outstanding. She's everything in one package.

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