Profile: Bubba Bolden
Location: Las Vegas (Calif.) Bishop Gorman
Weight: 200 pounds
Recruiting: Bolden committed to the USC Trojans at the Army AA Game over the weekend but not without a little drama. We thought Bolden to SC was a slam dunk for the last month but on Friday, the day before his announcement, rumors spread like wildfire that Arizona State was on the verge of pulling off the shocker of the year. Bolden and his close friend Alex Perry, had talked about playing together in college since they were little kids. In fact the two are more like family than friends and when Bolden's mother tweeted to Perry on Friday, which was his birthday, "Bubba Bolden is giving you the best gift of all. Watch where he commits tomorrow #ForksUp," it appeared that Bolden was Tempe bound. Bolden ended up announcing during the 3rd quarter of the game for USC and said afterward that he didn't make up his mind until halftime. As close as it was between the two schools, you have to expect the Sun Devils to continue to put the full court press on Bolden all the way to Signing Day but for now, the Trojans have arguably the most talented safety in the nation in the fold.
What to Like: Bolden is the most complete safety in the country and one of those players that does everything well. He's a physical player and loves to hit, is tough against the run, very good in coverage and his instincts and ball skills are off the charts. Bolden is one of those guys that just always seems to be around the ball and has a knack for making the big play at the clutch time. His blocked field goal against St. Thomas Aquinas earlier in the year where he leaped over the entire offensive line to send the game in to double overtime was the play of the year and kept Gorman's winning streak, now at 54 games, alive. Bolden plays with a serious edge to him and has an enforcer, head hunter mentality in the secondary that just make you a little nervous if you're an offensive player. He's one of the more instinctive players we've seen in awhile and barring an injury, it's tough to imagine a scenario where Bolden isn't playing on Sundays.
Areas to improve: Bolden really doesn't have many weaknesses in his game so it's just about filling out his frame, adding some size and strength and getting faster. It's a good problem to have but Bolden can at times be a little too aggressive so you want to make sure he still plays on that edge but doesn't cost your team 15 yards. There's a saying that you would much rather have a player that you have to pull off the pile than throw on the pile and that will always be the case with Bolden and we've always loved the nastiness he plays with.
Overall Analysis: USC doesn't have great depth at safety and we could see Bolden coming in and making an early impact. He's an extreme talent with a great work ethic off the field and he just keeps getting better. We've been watching him play since his sophomore year and can't think of too many safeties over the years whose game took off the way his did. It's a huge pickup for the Trojans, who actually had Bolden committed a year ago before he decided to open up his recruitment over the summer. The entire staff played a role in bringing Bolden back in the fold including head coach Clay Helton and we think the kid has a chance to be a very special player at the next level.