It’s going to be hard not to notice senior Kenyotta Rollins on the football field this season. Not just because the Portage defensive end is 6 feet tall and weighs 220 pounds, but because he’s got a lot he wants accomplished by the end of his senior year and he’s not planning on letting anything getting in his way – especially not a quarterback.
“I want the team to go undefeated this year and win the DAC,” Rollins said. “Personally, I want to make all-state before I graduate. I want my team and my school to remember who I was, and I want to graduate with honors.”
Rollins made the football all-conference teams during both his sophomore and junior seasons, and was also on the all-area team as a junior.
“My sophomore year I started [on varsity],” Rollins said, “so I was with older people, and I had to become stronger and pick up a leadership role early. I listened to older players, they gave me advice and always told me to just have fun and play.”
Portage coach Wally McCormack says strength is Rollins’s “biggest asset” when it comes to his performance on the football field. Rollins hopes to get faster and stronger this season, and plans to get in plenty of reps in the weight room and “run with the receivers and the corners instead of with the linemen.”
“He is very, very strong,” McCormack said. “He power-clings more than 360 pounds, he’s got really good hips. He gets good grades and he’s a really good kid. I hope that he continues to get better with his technique. These past couple of years he’s been surviving just on his sheer athletic ability and strength, so we hope to keep coaching him up and get his technique a little better. That way he can continue to hone his craft a little bit to go along with the freakish athletic ability that he has.”
The Indians defensive end isn’t just receiving Division 1 looks – he’s getting offers. Indiana awarded him a full-ride football scholarship, and Ohio State has also indicated interest in adding him.
“I think college football will be a challenge, handling college football and school,” Rollins said. “I’m going to have to go in as an underdog and work my way up.”
As veteran on the Portage squad, Rollins hopes to provide leadership and guidance to the younger and less experienced players.
“I’m trying to lead the team,” Rollins said, “and make sure we stay focused on and off the field. I have to show them not to be scared and even if they mess up, help them keep going 100 percent. It has to be full speed, every time, every play.”
Rollins’s favorite part of playing football is spending time with his teammates, and he has confidence in the team’s potential.
“We play around,” he said, “but we know how to focus but when it’s time to come together we all play together because you can’t win a football game just by yourself. I think this is the best team I’ve played on since I’ve been at Portage. There’s different abilities, speed, strength. The younger players listen well, and we have the best seniors.”
Rollins says that above all, football has taught him to listen better and trust in others.
“Football has taught me to never give up,” he said, “even though it might look like it’s over.”