Las Vegas (Nev.) four-star safety Bubba Bolden cried when he was offered a scholarship to USC more than a year ago. A few months later, he committed to the Trojans.
Through the smokey haze of a crazy 24 hours before his announcement, the 6-foot-3, 210-pound Army All-American ended up back where he started.
“ I'll be taking my talents to the University of Southern California,” said Bolden. “My family was a big part of this decision. It was a big decision, but I’m excited about it.
“Starting off committing to the old coaching staff, I had to sort of rebuild my relationship with the new staff. I de-committed and they accepted me taking that break, but never backed off.
“I visited other colleges, which was a good experience, but it always came back to USC. That was the school my family loves and that’s the school I grew up following.”
Bolden’s recruitment seemed to almost parallel USC’s game versus Penn State in the Rose Bowl last week. The Trojans were up big early with his commitment as a junior, only to see their lead dwindle with an eventual de-commitment over the summer.
When Bolden’s commitment appeared to be going to Arizona State in the 11th hour, the Trojans snatched his declaration from the hand of defeat.
“My relationship with Coach (Clay) Helton, Coach (Ronnie) Bradford and Coach Gavin (Morris) is good now,” said Bolden. “That was missing. Coach Helton, and Coach Gavin especially, had a big role in connecting.
“Coach Gavin would be the guy that talks to everyone and knows everyone. He will tell you anything and everything about USC. The good the bad… everything going with their program. He had a big role with me. He can talk to you as a friend more than just a coach.
“He’s pretty chill, honestly. I also think building that relationship back up had a lot to do with seeing how they would use me in their defense. Seeing the way the program was running, who they had coming in and who was returning next season also helped.
“The staff talked about how they weren’t only going to coach me, but help me grow as a man. I feel like USC expands my life beyond more than just football.”
Bolden is scheduled to officially visit USC Jan. 13. He becomes commitment No. 17 for USC in the 2017 class. He is rated the nation’s No. 2 safety and the No. 38 prospect in the Scout 300 overall.
Saturday’s announcement came with lots of drama. Now he is ready to look forward to college football as a Trojan.
“I wanted to get things over with, but not trying to rush it at the same time,” said Bolden. “I made my decision with my family and we’re ready to make that next step to USC.”