Committed or not?

In the world of high school recruiting, sometimes the "truth" depends on who a reporter is talking to at the moment. So it "appears" to be with Chattanooga's Demonte Bolden.

Trumpeted as a commitment to Tennessee just last week, Bolden's high school coach is claiming otherwise.

For long-time followers of high school football recruiting, the situation is not that unusual. Talk to the athlete, his mother, his father, his best friend and then his high school coach; and a reporter can sometimes come away with five different stories--or more. But this latest example of the winding road of college recruiting is interesting, nevertheless.

Standing 6-6 and weighing 300 pounds, Demonte Bolden has excellent size for a defensive tackle. And a best clocking of 4.75 in the 40-yard dash indicates more than enough athleticism as well. So it was no surprise that Volunteer fans were celebrating his pledge.

To hear Bolden tell it, there's no confusion. "My mom wanted me to keep my options open," he told TheInsiders.com's Scott Kennedy in a recent article. "But when I got to Tennessee for their spring game, and Coach (Phillip) Fulmer was talking to me, I decided right then that's where I wanted to go."

But at last Sunday's NIKE Camp held at Auburn, Bolden's high school coach was telling a different tale. According to him, Bolden is not committed to UT and remains open to any suitors.

A high school coach stepping in to protect his player? Or just a matter of a coach wanting his athlete to remain "publicly" uncommitted in order to keep the attention coming? After all, it's the nature of recruiting that early commitments receive relatively less hype and attention compared to athletes that draw out the process until the bitter end.

In Kennedy's story published last Saturday, Bolden certainly doesn't "seem" confused. "I really like all of the coaches and coordinators (at Tennessee)," he said. "I think I'll get along well with everyone there."

According to Tyner High School's head coach, Bolden felt pressured to commit on his visit to Knoxville. "Demonte told me that he didn't know what else to do," was how the coach put it.

Maybe yes, maybe no. But until Bolden changes his story in public, it's probably best to chalk this one up to the recruiting game.

As a high school junior Bolden had 140 tackles, 14 sacks and 28 tackles for loss from his defensive end position. But he definitely projects as a defensive tackle on the college level.

At this point Bolden has only expressed public interest in Tennessee and Auburn. However, it would surprise no one if that list now expands.


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