We’re taught not to think badly of someone because of a fault or occurrence by another in their family.
For Michigan State football fans, a visit by Cincinnati (Ohio) Colerain junior linebacker Dan Bolden for Saturday’s game against Wisconsin and his possible recruitment by the Spartans, may test that saying.
Bolden, one of the top linebackers in Southwest Ohio in the 2018 recruiting class is a 6-foot-1, 220-pound tackling machine for the Cardinals. However, he’s also the younger brother of former Michigan Wolverine linebacker Joe Bolden of the famous stake in the Spartan Stadium turf game of 2014.
How different was it for the younger Bolden to be on a recruiting visit at Michigan State?
“It was the first time I’ve been up there as a recruit,” said Bolden. “It was a little different. I’ve been up to a few games before to watch Joe play against them. I think, I was there his freshman or sophomore year. It was weird seeing it from a recruiting standpoint. So it was different.”
While the Bolden household the past few years may have been Maize and Blue, the younger Bolden also saw several things that impressed him about the Spartans during his visit.
“I thought their defense wasn’t bad,” he said. “They were flying around to the ball and their defense looked really good. I like Coach (Harlon) Barnett. He recruits this area and I like him a lot as I talked with him for a little while. Coach (Mark) Dantonio, he seems real intense and seems like the kind of guy I would love to play for.
“I thought it was going to be a better game than that. Sometimes they play bad, sometimes something happens too. They’ll bounce back I think.”
What would an offer from the Spartans mean to Bolden? And just how weird would it be if Bolden became a Spartan?
“An offer from Michigan State would be huge,” he stressed. “It’s Big Ten football and another Power Five Conference team that wins. They won the Rose Bowl a few years ago and it would be cool to have an offer from them.
“It would be a little weird and take a little something to get use too as they are going to hear my name a little bit if I come up there and play. So hopefully I can change how they think about that a little bit.”
As for how his recruitment is going so far, Bolden added his first offer not too long ago.
“I have one offer now from Iowa State,” he said. “I got that earlier this year before the season started. I’ve been getting some looks from Michigan State and I’m glad they invited me up to their game. Indiana, Penn State, Kentucky and Virginia have all invited me to games. I’ve also received some stuff from Stanford, but that’s a long trip.”
Having an older brother who tackled the recruiting process a few years ago. Bolden is getting sound advice from his family on how to handle the process.
“They’ve just told me to go have fun with it and go enjoy it,” he said. “My dad told me to let him know where I want to go and we’ll try and get you there. He said go to as many places I want to go and go experience it and get a feel for it.”
What does he remember about his brother’s adventures in recruiting?
“I was in like the fourth or fifth grade,” he said. “So that was a little bit ago. I went to a few games with Joe. Never any that were too far from home but places like Cincinnati and Miami Ohio. I also went up to Michigan for a game as Joe wanted the whole family to go up there before he committed.”
As for how Bolden sees himself on the field at the next level. He’s fully open to play wherever coaches see fit.
“I’m playing MIKE backer now,” he said. “That is what I’ve played my whole life. But I can play anywhere you throw me. You can put me anywhere you want me. Outside linebacker, defensive line, inside linebacker, I’ll play wherever.”
The following video has highlights from this season of Bolden.