Bouldin Progressing

Rebel redshirt freshman Right Guard Daronte Bouldin is making all the right moves to become a big piece to the offensive line puzzle next year. He's just got one obstacle - time.

Last summer, a month after most of the heralded 2013 signing class had reported, Ole Miss Strength & Conditioning Coach Paul Jackson was asked how Offensive Lineman Daronte Bouldin - among others - was doing in the weight room.

He started shaking his head side to side, not as a negative signal, but in a disbelief kind of way.

"He is a beast," is all he would say.

Jackson does not hand out cheap compliments - it's not his style, so this writer made a mental note to watch "the beast" real closely.

Throughout the 2013 season, during his redshirt year, we'd do periodic checks with OL Coach Matt Luke about Bouldin and fellow RS frosh OL Davion Johnson.

Patience. . . give him time. . . special. . . were the common themes from Matt.

The offseason rolled around and tales of Bouldin being the strongest player on the team started bouncing around. Tales of 600-pound squats and the like.

Then a couple of days into spring training, Carlton Martin, who was moved from defensive tackle to compete with Bouldin at right guard was quizzed about his "competitor."

Martin has held the title of "strongest player on the team" for the past couple of years.


The current right side of the OL, Golson (left) and Bouldin (right).
Petre Thomas

"Daronte is stronger than I am," he said.

Bouldin tried to soak up everything he could his redshirt year and, along the way, reshape his body.

He went from 335 pounds to his spring weight of 323, all while gaining strength.

Now, with spring training almost over, he's going to leave the session as a raw number one at right guard.

"All he has to do is keep doing what he's doing. He's going to be a really fine player," said Coach Hugh Freeze. "He's athletic, strong, he's a great kid and he loves to compete. He also has some nasty in him."

The media pool got an opportunity to talk with Bouldin recently. He really is a nice "kid."

"Yes, sir, it's all about me learning about defenses," he began. "I know my offensive plays. I learned those during my redshirt year.

"You have to know where they are and learn to read them from their stances or little things. If you know the little things and are sure of yourself, you can play faster and that's the big thing - playing faster."

Even at the tender age of 18, once he got to Ole Miss, he realized his strength - built as a powerlifter in high school - was an advantage.

"I can come off the ball and move people when I am playing fast," he said. "My strength has helped me with my quickness. And Coach Jackson has me in great shape so the tempo offense is not wearing me down - I can keep up with it."

While learning is his biggest goal between now and August, he has some physical goals as well.

"I want to stay in great shape and get in even better shape and I want to keep getting stronger and stronger," Bouldin noted.

The right side of the line, right now, has Bouldin at RG and Austin Golson at RT. Golson played a lot last year, but at right guard. Ben Still, running with the ones most of the time at center, is also "new."

Linemen have to develop a chemistry. How is theirs going?

"We are all learning. We have a lot more to learn, but we are getting there," he closed.

Daronte Bouldin needs one ingredient to be the kind of player Jackson raved about from the weight room and Luke praised early on.

Time.


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