Reed Rohlman isn’t your typical leader, but don’t let the flowing hair, bushy beard and nonchalant attitude fool you.
Sure, he kind of laughed when he was recently asked about being one, but there’s no question his teammates want to be like him.
Isn’t that the definition of a leader?
“A little different kind of leader,” Rohlman said. “But I think I bring a couple things to this team that do help out. It might not be jumping down your throat all the time. I’m more of a laid-back guy.”
Even Seth Beer, one of college baseball’s best hitters, is trying to grow his beard out to match Rohlman, but the uncut hair is out of the question for Beer.
It’s not a bad idea. Rohlman, a junior outfielder and designated hitter, is enjoying the best season of his career. He batting near .400. He’s one of the top statistical leaders on the team.
“He’s just enjoying it and having fun,” Beer said. “He’s playing the game like a kid. I think it’s rubbed off on a lot of the guys. We’re out there enjoying ourselves and having a lot of fun.”
People do take notice when it seems like he goes 3-for-5 nearly every night.
“The locker room is a lot more upbeat and more laid back because everyone is like, ‘Well, Reed’s like that and look what he’s doing,’” Beer said. “I think it’s been a great thing and a great experience for us.”
Rohlman isn’t trying to figure out why things have gone his way so much this season. Instead, he’s just along for the ride, which fits his personality. He feels like if he does think too much, it'll get him trouble, but he credits the coaching staff with helping keep him and the rest of the Tigers motivated each game.
“I come in every day with the same approach, the same mindset as if I’m struggling,” Rohlman said. “You’ve got to stay level to have success in this game.”
That’s a mature statement coming from someone who admits to needing some growing up, “which was needed.”
“I’ve definitely matured over the past couple of years,” Rohlman said, “but I take baseball as baseball. At the end of the day, it’s a game. Realize that when you’re struggling, you’re out here having fun with your guys.”
Rohlman describes himself as a “handsy” hitter, who doesn’t focus on power. He can go to any field and take whatever the pitcher is offering. That, and trusting the work he’s putting in in the batting cage, has the baseball looking like a volleyball for the Byrnes High School product.
“He’s relaxed and loose and having fun,” Clemson coach Monte Lee said. “I’m not going to over coach a guy.”
It’s working for everybody. Clemson is having a stellar season and on its way to hosting at least an NCAA Regional, if not a Super Regional as well.
That’s still a few weeks away, and there’s a good chance Rohlman’s beard and hair look even longer.
“I don’t think anybody could talk me into cutting it right now,” Rohlman said.