Kent Rollins thought his future was in college football.
But after being drafted in the Major League Baseball first-year player draft two weeks ago, the South Gwinnett two-sport standout has decided to change his path.
Rollins intended on enrolling at Air Force this fall, but will now pursue a college baseball career after signing with Auburn last week.
“After I got drafted, it opened up my eyes that maybe I could have a chance with baseball,” Rollins said. “It was a tough decision. It was either four years of football or three years of baseball and then see what happens again with the draft.”
Because Rollins was planning to attend a military school, he did not sign a letter of intent on National Signing Day in February. There was no legal binding contract and that kept him from talking to other colleges like Auburn.
“(Air Force) Coach (Troy) Calhoun was nothing but supportive. He still worked on me to try and get me to come,” Rollins said. “In the end, he told me they supported me and if I ever needed anything to call.”
At 6-foot and 170 pounds, Rollins didn’t have the typical size for a Division I quarterback. He fits better in the mold of a baseball player.
Rollins was a two-time Daily Post all-county selection on the diamond. The shortstop batted .453 with 25 RBIs, 30 runs, nine home runs and seven stolen bases last season.
Despite his success, Rollins was hardly recruited by college baseball teams because of his commitment to Air Force, so the thought of continuing his baseball career didn’t cross his mind until earlier this month. Rollins was drafted in the 48th round of the MLB draft on June 8 as the 1,463rd pick by the San Diego Padres.
“I had no idea I had a chance to be drafted,” Rollins said. “The first 10 or 12 games of the season I hit .700 and more and more attention came in, but I still had no idea my name would get called.”
The following week Rollins was playing with his travel baseball team in Auburn, Ala. The San Diego scout played for Auburn coach John Pawlowski and he asked Rollins to visit the campus. After a quick tour, Rollins was offered a scholarship and accepted.
“It just fell in place,” Rollins said. “Auburn has been my dream school. I’ve always been an Auburn fan. The coaches are pretty straight-forward guys, they have great facilities and it’s Auburn and that played a big role.”
Rollins was a Daily Post all-county selection in football. He passed for 4,539 yards the last two years with 47 touchdowns in the Comets’ spread offense and led them to two playoff appearances.
“My last play was a touchdown in the playoffs. I can walk away with that,” Rollins said. “I had a great run with a bunch of guys. We did a lot of great things for the school.”