McALESTER — People use some powerful words to describe the play of McAlester linebacker Devin Rolan.
Words like physical, aggressive, violent.
Rolan plays football like a predator — the Apex Predator, according to his Twitter handle.
“My assistant coach started calling me that. He says it's because I eat people,” Rolan said with a laugh.
At 6-foot-1, 230 pounds, Rolan is a force at the point of contact, and a danger to ball carriers, racking up 113 tackles a year ago. He's No. 8 on The Oklahoman's Super 30 list of the top football recruits in the state.
“Anything in the middle, be ready, because he's gonna bring the hat,” McAlester coach Bryan Pratt said. “He's violent when he arrives.”
It's a quality that Rolan has always built his game around, and now it's paying dividends.
“I've always been very intense,” he said. “You've got to be that way to see the field.
“College coaches saw how physical I was, and I think that really helped me in recruiting.”
Tulsa was the first college on board, offering during his junior season. Indiana offered as well, and Oklahoma and Oklahoma State were showing interest. But Rolan felt comfortable at Tulsa, and committed in early June.
Rolan wants to improve his agility and become a better sideline-to-sideline player. He has worked hard this summer to improve that part of his game, knowing it will help him at the college level, and help the Buffs this fall.
Rolan has high expectations for McAlester, and is looking forward to his final season in black and gold. Having grown up watching Buffs football all his life, he takes pride in being part of the team.
“Growing up, you just wanted to get to play on that field,” he said. “That's one of the things I think about on game nights — being little and watching other kids play here. I was nervous for my first game, but now, it's really exciting.”
And Rolan is the poster boy for what Pratt wants McAlester football to be.
“Devin is the type of kid we like to represent us,” Pratt said. “He works hard. There are no discipline issues. He's a polite, well-mannered kid.
“But when the lights come on every Friday night, he's a different cat.”
No. 8: Devin Rolan
Weight: 230 pounds
Committed to: Tulsa on June 6
The Oklahoman's Super 30
Every day through July 22, The Oklahoman's high school sports staff will bring you a feature story on one of the state's top football prospects, counting down from No. 30 to No. 1 on our Super 30 recruiting rankings. Sunday's featured player is No. 8, McAlester linebacker Devin Rolan.
See Sports Monday for No. 7 on the list, a Class 6A defensive back whose stock has been rising fast since last season, when he recorded 84 tackles and seven interceptions.
Here are the players we've written about so far:
No. 30: Trevan Smith, Edmond Santa Fe
No. 29: Chris Hall, Tulsa Union
No. 28: Caleb Holland, Carl Albert
No. 27: Cory Irwins, Mustang
No. 26: Diquon Woodhouse, Altus
No. 25: James Caligone, Tulsa Washington
No. 24: Jordan Evans, Norman North
No. 23: Cameron Wrenn, Broken Arrow
No. 22: Kerwin Thomas, Wagoner
No. 21: Trey'Vonne Barr'e, Jenks
No. 20: Blake Mejia, Tulsa Union
No. 19: Frankie Davis, Broken Arrow
No. 18: Devanta Johnson, Tulsa East Central
No. 17: Corey Lawrence, Del City
No. 16: Cre Moore, Broken Arrow
No. 15: Heath Newland, Edmond North
No. 14: Carlos Freeman, Midwest City
No. 13: Ben Oberste, Sallisaw
No. 12: Dominique Alexander, Tulsa Washington
No. 11: Jordan Smallwood, Jenks
No. 10: Kimmie Carson, Tulsa East Central
No. 9: Darius Graham, Lawton MacArthur