The standards for the Rhodes Scholarship are:
- literary and scholastic attainments;
- energy to use one's talents to the full, as exemplified by fondness for and success in sports;
- truth, courage, devotion to duty, sympathy for and protection of the weak, kindliness, unselfishness and fellowship;
- moral force of character and instincts to lead, and to take an interest in one's fellow beings.
By all accounts, Rolle seems to qualify. Top student, and the guy is one of the top, top, top players in the country; this isn't some punter who happened to be bright. This guy is fast, strong, and can lay the wood when he hits you. I also want to give Bobby Bowden and FSU some credit -- though with some of the other stories out of there they may not have had much choice -- for letting Rolle off for a rather important game against Maryland. Sometimes, football comes second.
In any event, along with other famous Rhodes Scholars, like Bill Clinton, one of my favorites (for the nickname if nothing else) is Byron "Whizzer" White. The Whizzer earned the nickname as a running back at the University of Colorado.
Try this for a timeline: He is awarded the Rhodes Scholarship, but defers it to play football for the Pittsburgh Pirates (now Steelers, obviously). He leads the NFL in rushing as a rookie. As an encore, he goes off to Oxford to study for a year. Then he returns to the NFL, this time with the Detroit Lions, and leads the NFL in rushing again. His career is then cut short when he entered the Navy during World War II.
Then, after the war, he finds a pretty good second career after football: White graduated from Yale Law School, and, of course, became one of the longest sitting Supreme Court Justices, having been nominated by John F. Kennedy