|Bench Press:||375 pounds|
|School:||St. John's College High School, Washington, D.C.|
Although next season's crop of gridiron stars have not yet begun their senior year, 2002 projects as a banner class of Division 1 prospects for the Washington, D.C. area. DT/OT Conrad Bolston, who attends St. John's College HS, certainly ranks very highly on college recruiters wish lists in this early stage of the evaluation period.
Bolston, who has been a starting two-way lineman since 10th grade, checks in at 6'4", 260 lbs., and has a 4.9 forty yard dash, but doctors have predicted he could end up at 6'6" before he finishes growing. His size and speed enabled him to record 55 tackles and 12 sacks during last season. Although those statistics have scouts drooling, there is more to Conrad than numbers.
According to Conrad's recently resigned head coach, John Ricca, "He has it all going for him, he's got good speed and good strength. He's been the heavy weight wrestling champ of the league for 2 years as a sophomore and as a junior. He's been in the top 3 or 4 in the country up at the National Preps in wrestling both [Sophomore and Junior] years," Ricca said. "He's a tough kid, he's a smart kid. He's a quality kid from good parents and he's a hard-working kid. He's got the whole package."
Conrad's attributes were recognized last season as he was named to the Golden 11 and 2nd Team All-Met (as a defensive tackle) for football and 1st team All-Met for wrestling.
Bolston's experiences on the wrestling mat have certainly prepared him well for battling in the trenches on the football field. His versatility, strength, and intelligence are key ingredients for any great defensive or offensive lineman, but Coach Ricca believes Conrad will ultimately find a home on the defense. "I've coached 2 lineman that have played in the pros and dozens that have played Division I and he has the potential to be the best player of them all. Jay Williams, a defensive lineman, is still playing for the Carolina Panthers and [Conrad's a] bigger, stronger and a better high school player than Jay Williams was. He's the best I've coached," according to Coach Ricca. "He is a hard-working kid and he is a quality kid, so barring injury, I think he's a can't miss college All-American and an NFL player someday."
Although the May evaluation period is a month away, Conrad has received 3 early offers from Division 1 schools - Maryland, Penn State, and Boston College. Those three offers appear to be the tip of the iceberg, according to Ricca, "There's no doubt that he's going to have offers from everybody before it's all said and done. He's a big league, big time, All-American type of player." In fact there are a boatload of schools showing interest in Conrad, including Michigan, Notre Dame, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Tennessee, Syracuse, Kent State and Michigan State.
While he may get some much deserved national attention, Coach Ricca doesn't see Conrad straying "more than a couple of hours away from home."
Conrad, himself, echoed the the coaches sentiments, "Yeah, I want to stay close to home, in the ACC, Big 10 or the SEC."
Conrad is willing to play on either side of the ball. "I'll play wherever they want me to play, but I'd rather play defense."
Does he have an early favorite? "Not right now, maybe Maryland."
Although the Terps may be the team to beat at the present, Conrad is very familiar with the Nittany Lions. In fact, he rated the rates the PSU and MD coaching staffs about the same. Conrad is being recruited by PSU D-Line coach, Larry Johnson.
How does he view Coach Johnson? "I think he's a good guy, I like him a lot." And how does he view Penn State? "I like the tradition there, and the facilities."
Bolston listed his top 4 teams as "Penn State, Virginia, Maryland and Boston College." By the beginning of his senior season, Conrad would like to have his wish list narrowed to 4 or 5 schools so that he could make a decision shortly after the season.
Conrad has not finalized any plans for camps this summer and he will probably not be attending the Nike Camp at Penn State's Holuba Hall on April 21st.
FYI - Coach Ricca resigned from St. John's College HS in order to begin a new football program at St. John's Prospect Hall. Elliot Uzelac will be the new St. John's head coach. According to Ricca, Uzelac was a former head coach at the Naval Academy in the late 80's and an assistant coach with Maryland and Ohio State in the 90's.