Georgia Athlete Pleased With UI Offer

The Fighting Illini football team continues to scour the state of Georgia for talent. One of many with a scholarship offer is Brunswick safety Willie Bolden. He is grateful for that offer.

Illinois made a big impression on Willie Bolden in the spring.

"Illinois was the first school to offer me, so that is something I will always be grateful for."

Do you have other offers?

"No sir, I have no other offers at the moment. But I'm on the verge of getting more. Mississippi State is showing major interest, and so are a couple others."

Illini coaches pride themselves on their ability to evaluate and recognize talent. Defensive coordinator Vic Koenning is handling Bolden's recruitment.

"The recruiting coach I talk to is Coach Vic. He's a funny dude. He's a character. We get along real well. He's a coach that cares about the players. So I think he's a good coach."

Travel opportunities are limited for the Brunswick, Georgia, native.

"I don't think I'll be able to make it up there this summer. I'll just have to keep in touch with the coaches."

Bolden has visited schools closer to his home.

"I've visited Middle Tennessee, South Carolina State and Coastal Carolina. I think my coaches are planning to take me to UAB and Georgia Tech."

However, he is not concerned about attending college close to home.

"It really doesn't matter. If I stay home, that will be nice. But I just want to get in a college. Staying home isn't a big factor."

What is Bolden looking for in a college?

"I'm looking for good academics and the right environment, a good place I can call my second home. I want to go to a school where I can make a big impact right away."

The 6'-1" safety, who also plays some quarterback, has attributes suitable for defense. Intelligence and leadership are especially prominent.

"Reading the quarterback and knowing the formations. Just watching a lot of film, so in a game I know what I'm doing. I can be there to make the big play.

"I have to call out all the coverages and make sure the corners are lined up right and know the coverages. I also have to know where the linebackers are and where the weak spots are on the team."

Of course, there are always things that can be improved.

"I'd say I need to work on being more patient. I like to come down and fly around against teams that run a lot. That can kill me on play action. So being more patient, and staying in my backpedal longer."

Bolden feels Brunswick High School will improve on last year's record.

"We did good last year, but we didn't do as good as we wanted to. We were second in our region. This year, we're hoping to be first in the region, make the playoffs and go to the state championship. We have a lot of guys returning, especially on the offensive and defensive lines. We have a lot more players going D-1 this year."

Bolden plans to enroll in college second semester to get a head start on his academics and football.

"I'm most likely going into school undecided on a major. I'm graduating early, so I'll be in college this spring, whatever school I go to. By next fall, I should know what major I want."

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