Four-star Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman safety Bubba Bolden, who famously kept Trojan fans across the country on pins and needles for the better part of three days leading up to his commitment at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, is now officially a member of the 2017 USC Trojans recruiting class. This morning, Bolden faxed in his National Letter of Intent and the USC athletic department has confirmed and announced his signing.
USC fans that followed Bolden's recruitment were taken on an emotional roller coaster. Bolden was one of the first to commit to the Trojans' 2017 class way back in December of 2015 -- a month and a half after he received his dream offer to USC. But that offer came just two weeks after Steve Sarkisian was fired from his head coaching duties early in the 2015 season. Bolden committed, but soon after the position coach he committed to, defensive backs coach Keith Heyward, was not retained. The new defensive staff didn't prioritize Bolden initially leading him to de-commit.
Eventually defensive backs coach Ronnie Bradford and defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast came around on Bolden and with a big assist from head coach Clay Helton, the Trojans were able to get back in the mix for the 6-foot-2.5, 200-pound safety. Set to make a decision at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in early January, Bolden narrowed his choices to Ohio State and USC, but as the week in San Antonio progressed, a dark horse emerged as Bolden seriously considered the potential of joining Gorman teammate and best friend Alex Perry at Arizona State.
A torn Bolden went down to the wire with his decision up in the air, but when the lights and camera were on, Bolden made the choice to put on a USC hat, bringing his recruitment around to complete the full circle.
Bolden is a key recruit in the Trojans' class. The top rated safety in the West, Bolden was on the cusp of being a five-star, finishing as the top ranked defensive four-star prospect. Bolden is the No. 2 player in the state of Nevada, trailing only Bishop Gorman teammate Tate Martell, and the No. 3 safety in the country.
Bolden joins fellow out-of-state safety Isaiah Pola-Mao in a seemingly deep safety pool where the Trojans return co-starters Chris Hawkins and Marvell Tell III as well as former starter John Plattenburg and former walk-on Matt Lopes, who has seen significant snaps at times. USC also has highly touted preps Ykili Ross and Jamel Cook, who have yet to make an impact in part due to injuries.
With only Leon McQuay III departing, it doesn't seem like there will be much playing time at the back end of the secondary. However, Ross has been rumored to be on the move to the offensive side of the ball, three seniors will graduate this year, Tell could also test the draft waters and Pendergast isn't afraid to use three safeties on the field when he uses nickel personnel. That leaves open the door for Bolden and Pola-Mao to come in and compete for playing time both this year and especially in 2018.
Here's some Bubba Bolden highlight clips from the U.S. Army All-American Bowl and the practices during the week:
Also, check out our quick glance at the 2017 USC Trojans recruiting class to see the latest updates on who has signed.
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