During the season-ending loss to Tennessee Tech Monday night, Ryan Rolison couldn’t help but appear fidgety as he switched his focus between the game and his phone. As a projected first-round draft prospect, Rolison nervously waited for a call from a Major League ball club.
The sophomore LHP was drafted by the Colorado Rockies with the 22nd overall pick in the MLB Draft on Monday night.
“I’m glad it’s over and so proud to be a part of a great organization,” Rolison told ESPN.
Rolison is only the second first-round pick in Ole Miss history after Drew Pomeranz went to the Clevland Indians in 2010. He is expected to make around $2.9 million for a signing bonus.
The Jackson, Tennessee, native was a star even before he arrived in Oxford in 2017. He was regarded as the best prospect in Tennessee coming out of high school and continued his success into his freshman year, earning Freshman All-American honors and being named to the SEC All-Freshman team.
Rolison served as the ace for the Diamond Rebels during the 2018 season and shined all year, with a 10-4 record and 3.70 ERA in 97 innings. One of those wins coming in the SEC Tournament Championship against LSU, by pitching two innings and allowing no hits and three strikeouts. Opposing batters only managed an average of .238 during his two-year career as a Rebel. Rolison is the third player in Ole Miss history to have 10 wins and over 100 strikeouts in a single season.
The lefty will be taking on major league hitters with a fastball in the low-90s, a curveball with massive movement and a developing changeup.
As well as Rolison, Ole Miss potentially lost two elite recruits in the first round on Monday night who have verbally committed to the Rebels. A right-handed pitcher from Hudson, Florida, Gunnar Hogland was taken 36th overall by the Pirates, and Joe Gray, an outfielder from Hattiesburg, Mississippi, was selected 60th by the Brewers. Both commits are expected to sign with their respective teams.
Catcher Nick Fortes was taken 117th overall by the Marlins and pitcher Brady Feigl went 143rd overall to the Athletics on Tuesday.