Bakersfield’s Grant Bouma spent his high school years rising as the All-Area Defensive Player of the Year. Meanwhile, he was working on his family’s dairy farm and attending Fresno State football games with his family’s season tickets. He sure sounds like a fit for the new Fresno State coaching staff’s plan to reinstill the pride in the Valley.
Bouma became a Kern County standout at Bakersfield Christian High School where he graduated in 2014. Putting on the Bulldog uniform was not presented as an option and he accepted a preferred walk-on spot at Texas Tech.
“During that time it was the DeRuyter phase and all that,” Bouma said. “From my opinion, he didn’t recruit the Valley as much as Tedford will or is doing. A lot of us recruits at that time felt we got passed over a little. I was always drawn to Fresno State but never felt the love or got the opportunity.”
But two years later, Bouma’s journey moved onto Ventura College and Fresno State has gone in a new direction by hiring Jeff Tedford. It didn’t take long for the two parties to connect.
“I was looking at a few other options, but my heart was with Fresno State and I put all my efforts into Fresno State to get there so I cut off communications with whoever else I was talking to and just focused on them.
“I love Fresno State, I’ve been involved with going to games since I can remember in high school. My family had season tickets and my brother attended there, I’ve been around the campus… It’s a fulfillment, honestly, for my career to find a home I want to go to,”
Another perk for Bouma at Fresno State is the major of his choice.
“I want to major in agriculture and dairy sciences - my family owns dairy farms in California and some other states,” Bouma said. “I want to get into the family business one day and learn some things in college about it.”
On the field, the Bulldogs are bringing Bouma on as an inside linebacker. He stands at 6-foot-3 and 245 pounds. They haven’t talked much about the scheme, but see him as a run-stopper in one form or another. If Bouma can break into the rotation he could be the replacement that the team needs for outgoing linebacker Jeff Camilli.
“The way I like to play football is downhill, a linebacker’s mentality of run stopping,” Bouma said. “That’s just the way I’m built and the way I understand the game. I like to get to the quarterback, run stopping, anything inside the tackle box. That’s what I love and am the best at.”
Bouma is committed to Fresno State as a preferred walk-on. His application is in and if everything goes as planned, he will be enrolled next semester and join the team for spring.