Wed, Sep. 26, 2012 - [Football]
Article Courtesy of Phil Hicks, Tyler Morning Telegraph
After leading the Sulphur Springs Wildcats to the Class 4A Division II state football championship in 2008, Tyrik Rollison was one of the most sought-after recruits in the nation.
As a senior, the strong-armed quarterback completed 315 of 428 pass attempts for 4,728 yards and 51 touchdowns. He added 1,094 yards rushing. In the state championship game, a 69-49 win over Dayton, Rollison accounted for seven touchdowns, four by air and three by the ground. He passed for 398 yards and rushed for 127.
The dazzling display only enhanced his stock in the eyes of college coaches. In an intense recruiting battle, the two-time all-state quarterback picked Auburn, much to the delight of War Eagle fans.
Fast forward to 2012 and Rollison is leading the Tyler Junior College Apaches. The QB with the cannon has thrown for 993 yards and eight touchdowns in four games.
Rollison and the Apaches (2-2, 0-1 Southwest Junior College Football Conference) play a rare Thursday game this week as they take on No. 9 Northeastern Oklahoma A&M Golden Norsemen (4-0, 1-0).
Kickoff is 7 p.m. on Earl Campbell Field at Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium.
The following is a question and answer session with Rollison:
Hicks: Do you like Thursday games?
Rollison: It is always a blessing to have the opportunity to prepare for a game. I like playing on Thursday, especially this week - we don't want that loss (35-27 to Blinn on Saturday) to dwell on us. We want to get that bad taste out of our months and get back on the field.
Hicks: What do you think about NEO?
Rollison: They were good last year; a very physical team on both sides of the ball. We just need to play Tyler Apache football.
Hicks: Last year, the Apaches lost their first two conference games and then went on to play in the conference championship. Can this team bounce back after an opening conference loss?
Rollison: We just have to focus on this one game. … We will worry about the other games later.
Hicks: Talk about your senior year when you led Sulphur Springs to the state title.
Rollison: It was a fun year, with a lot of ups and downs. We lost back to back games at one point, but we grew as a team and bonded. If we can get that bond here at TJC - and we are already a close team - we can accomplish a lot this season.
Hicks: How did you wind up at TJC?
Rollison: In high school, I picked Auburn over Kansas State. When I was at Auburn I got into a little trouble (Auburn coach Gene Chizik said he violated team rules). I really wasn't focused so I left Auburn and went to Sam Houston State. I had the starting job and the week before we were scheduled to play Baylor (the 2010 season) there was a freak accident (during final intrasquad scrimmage) and I broke my wrist. So I went through a whole semester where I was down in the dumps. I really didn't want to play football. I gave it a semester off; and then decided to talk with my mom and dad and a couple of friends about my future. I talked to a friend on Facebook who was attending TJC. He asked if I still wanted to play. I told him I wanted to get one more shot. He got me in touch with (Apache offensive coordinator) coach (Ryan) Mahon. I talked with coach Mahon and he set up a visit with (head) coach (Danny) Palmer. From right then and there, I felt like I was home.
Hicks: So you enjoy being at TJC?
Rollison: It is a blessing. I just want to give thanks to God; and to coach Palmer and the rest of the coaching staff for giving me another chance.