When colleges started to shift their primary focus from 2017 recruiting to 2018 prospects, Nick Bolton quickly saw his stock take off.
“I barely had any looks in mid-January but since late January, to have 11 offers come in is pretty amazing,” said the 6-foot-0, 225-pound linebacker. “Now I am just taking in what every school has to offer. I don't have a list of top schools as of right now. I have just been letting the recruiting process happen.”
Boston College, Colorado, Houston, SMU and UTSA are among the programs after Bolton's services. Mississippi State and Duke are expected to stop by to watch him during the spring evaluation period.
Currently ranked as the fifth best outside linebacker prospect from Texas on Scout.com, Bolton is actually being projected by most colleges, including Colorado, as an inside linebacker.
"I was just texting [Buffaloes inside linebackers] coach [Ross] Els today, just getting to know him better,” Bolton said. “They said they are going to recruit me heavy. I am trying to figure out a way to get up to visit Colorado but I have nothing set up as of right now now.
"Based off what I know, Colorado is great. The environment out there is great. It sounds like their coaches are great individuals and great coaches. They have great players out there. They have a successful team and the Pac-12 speaks for itself.”
So far, Bolton has taken unofficial visits to Houston, Baylor, Oklahoma State, SMU, North Texas and UTSA. He grew up cheering for UCLA and plans to attend one of the Bruins' camps this summer.
“Every place has a little something different that I like,” Bolton said. “I liked Oklahoma State's facilities, they are real nice. I liked the city of Houston. UTSA is in a nice environment with nice people around. Everybody had a little something good.”
Playing primarily at middle linebacker, Bolton racked up 111 tackles and was named his district's Defensive MVP in 2016. He has tried to model his game after former Baltimore Ravens star Ray Lewis.
“He wasn't always the fastest or strongest but he knew football,” Bolton said of his idol. “He knew what everybody was doing before the play happened, which gave him an advantage. So I try to be like him as much as I can.
“I study eight hours of film a week and as a result, I know what everybody should be doing on every play. If somebody messes up in the secondary, I know who it was and can try to help fix the problem. And I study my opponents so I can get a cue on what they are going to do. I look at the guard's stance, the splits in-between the receivers and linemen, anything I can to figure out what is going to happen before they snap the ball.”
A starter on Lone Star's varsity basketball squad that won a district championship this winter, Bolton has shifted focus back to improving as a football player this spring.
“I am working on the little things like training my eyes better, making sure I have no false steps, better angles on tackling, things like that,” Bolton said. “You can always get better.”