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McDaniel's Rollins: 'I want a ring'

Joe Rollins needs a 2,000-yard season to make a run at becoming the all-time rushing leader in McDaniel College football history.
He's already in elite company among Green Terror running backs, as one of only four to eclipse 3,000 career rushing yards. His all-purpose yards rank third in school history. His yards per carry is best of all-time.
Yet Rollins doesn't seem to be focused on individual accolades. He came to McDaniel three years ago from Surrattsville High School in southern Maryland as an undersized back with potential, but doubts came with him because of his stature at 5 feet, 6 inches.
Rollins has belied his size with a standout career, and he wants to finish it strong.
"I want a ring," he said. "My goal, of course, is the team goal ... I definitely want to have a ring. I want us to be known as one of the best offenses of all time at McDaniel."
Centennial Conference teams that didn't know much about Rollins when he arrived on campus soon found out he was dynamic.
As a sophomore he tied a school record with 311 yards in a game against Moravian, finished the season with 1,401 yards, and earned first-team all-conference honors. Last year, despite missing the opener for violating team rules and getting ejected for unsportsmanlike conduct the following week, Rollins ran for 1,243 yards and eight touchdowns, and repeated as an all-Centennial first-teamer.
His 3,267 career yards trail only Eric Frees (5,281) and Rob Johnson (3,405) on McDaniel's all-time list. And his 5.95 yards per carry average trails no one.
Ten weeks of a regular season now remain. The notion of a playoff game might be tempered by the fact that McDaniel went 0-10 last fall and carries a 12-game losing streak into this year. But Rollins said he wants to do all he can to help the Green Terror achieve greatness with experience and maturity.
McDaniel running backs coach Tony Vinson has watched Rollins grow into a leadership role and said Rollins has what it takes to guide the Green Terror this fall.
"When I first got here, the one thing I wanted to really work with Joe on and make sure he understood was the mental part of the game," said Vinson, an All-American at Towson University who played for the Baltimore Ravens in the late-1990s.
"With Joe, you can feel that sense of urgency. He understands that this is the last hurrah, this is the last ride. Every play is one play closer to the end. He's really focused on making the most of it."
Rollins put in the work over the offseason, Vinson said, but most of the preparation has come from being the team's top backfield presence for two seasons. Repetition is just as important, Rollins said.
"Staying in synch with all of my O-linemen, first string, second string, everybody, so we're all in one accord with each other," he said. "Make sure I know what everybody's doing so I can do it with my eyes closed if I want to. By the time I have all that down, then all I worry about on Saturdays is strictly defense."
Offensive lineman Brian Kooser has been blocking for Rollins for three years and said it's a thing of beauty with the diminutive running back stays low to the ground, follows his blocks, and breaks into daylight.
"It's awesome," said Kooser, a two-year starter on the line. "Any time you get to block for somebody doing that, it makes us look good and makes the team look good."
Defenses have found it difficult over the years to keep Rollins down, like Week 4 of last season. Two weeks after being tossed against Moravian, Rollins set a career high with 434 all-purpose yards vs. Ursinus. In Week 9 he ran for a season-high 266 yards and four touchdowns in against Susquehanna.
Those games ended in losses, however, and that's the one thing Rollins wants to reverse.
"You've got to make a statement, senior year," he said. "So I'm looking to take a big step on this team, trying to help out as much as I can. We're going to need a lot of leadership this year, a lot of top guys on our team with that mentality that there is no exception."
Vinson credits Rollins for becoming a more all-around player. Plus, Vinson remembers when his college career was winding down and wanting to do anything to make it last.
"It ends for us all, you just don't know when," Vinson said. "And the whole thing is, you want to make sure you do whatever you can between now and then."
No plays off, no days off. That's Rollins' message to his teammates. His final season begins Saturday at home against Catholic, and Rollins seems ready to go.
"I like the senior class we have here, the leadership we have here, because it's a whole other mindset from last year and the years before," he said. "I like what I see with our whole team."

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