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Antrel Rolle


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Rolle will return for senior season

Good news for the Hurricanes: Cornerback Antrel Rolle decides against entering the NFL draft one year early.

BY MARISSA SILVERA AND SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

[email protected]

 

University of Miami cornerback Antrel Rolle will return for his senior season to give the Hurricanes much-needed experience in their secondary.

 

After a Friday afternoon meeting with his parents, Armelia and Al, and UM coach Admin Coker, the junior announced he would not enter the NFL draft a year early.

 

''After evaluating the situation with my family and coach Coker, I have decided to remain at the University of Miami for my senior season and work towards getting my degree,'' Rolle, a South Dade High standout, said in a statement. ``I look forward to providing leadership to the team and am confident we will continue UM's history of excellence.''

 

Friday evening, Armelia Rolle told The Herald by phone that her son's decision was made without the NFL college advisory committee's evaluation of his draft status.

 

Rolle had said after the season that if he was not a projected first-rounder he would not leave.

 

The family had contacted their own NFL sources for guidance. Rolle's uncle, Harvey Clayton, a former FSU cornerback (1979-83) who played in the NFL for seven years, also was helpful in reaching this decision.

 

''It was just that Antrel felt more comfortable staying,'' said Armelia, a guidance counselor at Homestead High. ``There was a lot of soul searching, and he just did not feel like he was done playing college football.''

 

She said the information they received indicated it was too risky: ``Our sources were not even willing to project -- that's the bottom line. There was too much unknown to make the decision to leave early.

 

''About 40 juniors have declared in all different positions, which makes this draft risky for anyone projected from the 20th pick down. He is content. He just wanted to get it over with,'' she said.

 

Rolle, a third-team All-American by The Associated Press, did not join fellow juniors Sean Taylor, Kellen Winslow Jr. and Vince Wilfork in declaring early for the draft.

 

Rolle's return ensures UM will have two experienced cornerbacks in an otherwise depleted defensive backfield. Sophomore Kelly Jennings, who started in nickel and dime packages and was a starter in 2002, is expected to start opposite Rolle.

 

UM will have to replace defensive back starters Taylor, strong safety Maurice Sikes and cornerback Al Marshall.

 

Coker welcomed Rolle's decision.

 

''I am elated that Antrel has decided to return for his senior season and continue his studies towards his degree,'' Coker said in the statement.

 

Rolle, 6-1 and 200 pounds, was considered one of the nation's top cornerbacks and helped Miami gain a top five ranking in passing defense and pass efficiency defense.

 

He was a first-team All-Big East selection with 51 tackles, two interceptions and seven pass breakups. As a punt returner, Rolle averaged 15.6 yards a return.

 

at least one DB is staying...

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