Clay Rolf always dreamed of playing college football at Bowling Green.
The Eastwood High School senior turned his dream into a reality Thursday, verbally committing to play for
The 6-foot-6, 245-pounder offensive tackle earned a full scholarship and will sign his national letter of
intent in February, when the sport’s signing period begins.
Under NCAA rules, BG coach Dave Clawson can’t comment on recruits until he’s received their signed
"I felt comfortable with everything there and loved the place. It’s where I wanted to go," said
Rolf, who is also a dominant defensive end at Eastwood. "They have a great coaching staff. They’re
great guys who care for their players, and they want to succeed on and off the field.
Rolf, who has a 3.4 grade-point average, plans to major in education or criminal justice.
"They have good facilities and good academics," he said.
Rolf remembers attending G games at Doyt Perry Stadium ever since he was little.
He also received scholarship offers from Toledo, Ball State, Akron, Central Michigan and Ohio University
in the Mid-American Conference; and Cincinnati in the Big East Conference. Ohio State, Iowa and Purdue
from the Big Ten Conference also showed interest.
"This has pretty much been the favorite in terms of where I wanted to go school. There were some
other schools that were close, but Bowling Green always had the edge," said Rolf, who turned 18 in
Rolf also liked BG because it is far enough away that he can leave home, but it is close enough for him
to get home.
"It was a happy medium," he said.
Rolf has a terrific blend of speed and power. His blocking helped Eastwood score 37.2 points per game
last season. He also led the team with 92 tackles, including three tackles for loss and 10 sacks. He
also may see action at tight end this season.
"The first thing everyone looks at is his height, but he’s a gifted athlete," Eastwood football
coach Jerry Rutherford said.
Rolf was a baseball and basketball standout.
The catcher/first baseman hit .418 as a junior with 26 runs batted in 28 runs scored. He was 2-1 on the
mound with a 1.72 earned-run average, striking out 34 in 241â„3 innings. He also dominated the post area
in basketball, averaging 14.4 points and 10.8 rebounds per game last season.
"He has good speed and he runs well for a big guy," Rutherford said. "He loves to compete,
he loves to play. He just loves being involved. He works hard at the game and he’s only going to
continue to get better and better."
Rolf hopes to play as a freshman with the Falcons, but could be red-shirted. He expects to weigh 285 to
295 pounds by end of his college career.
"I’m going to work as hard as I can so I can be ready," said Rolf, who is Eastwood’s long
snapper. "I’m going to bust my butt, and whatever happens will be up to the coaches. I want to win
and I want to make the players around me successful. I’m going to play every hard every play, every
down, every practice."
Rolf said choosing to play football instead of baseball in college was difficult
"I have a little more passion for football. I love baseball and I love football, but football has a
little bit of an edge," he said.
Rolf added the decision commit now enables him to concentrate on his senior season.
The Eagles are hoping to end Genoa’s two-year reign as Suburban Lakes League champion and earn a state
Eastwood was 8-3 overall and 6-1 in the SLL last fall, its only league loss coming to Genoa. The Eagles
were 20-7 losers to Marion Pleasant in the first round of the Division IV state playoffs.
BG offered him a scholarship earlier this summer.
"The timing was perfect," he said. "I wanted to play here and when I made my decision to
go here, I let them know. I like the fact the pressure is off and I can concentrate on playing for
Eastwood and trying to win an SLL title.
"I enjoy our team, I love playing the game and being with my teammates and, now that I have this out
of the way, I can give 110 percent to Eastwood on every play. We have a lot of guys back and we’re
having a great summer. We’re expecting a lot of big things this season."
Clay’s grandfather, Paul Rolf, played football at BG, lettering in 1964 under Perry and in 1965 under Bob
Gibson. The Falcons won the outright MAC championship in 1964 and shared the title with Miami in 1965.
Clay’s dad, Chip, is BGSU graduate. Both of Clay’s parents were outstanding athletes at Eastwood. His mom
is the former Deb DeWese.