By Andrew Gorringe
The Utes scored big in early January when they got what is likely the biggest commitment in program history, as five-star offensive tackle, and the number one rated junior college football player in the country, Garret Bolles decided to stay home and play for the Utes. Bolles of course was a one time commit to the team down south, as he committed to them very early on in his junior college career. When word, and film, got out about how dominant of a player he was though, offers from all over the country started flooding in and Bolles promptly decommitted from the Cougars in order to better evaluate his options. The top programs in college football came to small town Ephraim, Utah to see Bolles, and eventually offer him a scholarship. Bolles received offers from 3 of this year’s 4 playoff teams, including the national champion Crimson Tide. In addition, Bolles turned down offers to Georgia, USC, Ohio State, Florida Sate, Ole Miss, Arkansas, and many others. Coaches Harding and Scalley were instrumental in Bolles’ decision to stay home, and their determination to keep Bolles home should be commended.
Have you ever wanted to see an NFL left tackle play for the Utes? Well, you’re about to see one, as Bolles has the tools, speed, size and smarts to be a possible first round draft pick in a year or two. Some scouts even touted him as being NFL ready THIS year. It’s very realistic that Bolles could be a ‘one and done’ player for the Utes, but we won’t focus on that. Bolles stands 6’6 and weighs in at 305lbs, so he doesn’t need to add much to his frame. He has the long arms you look for in a tackle, and has also has great bend in his frame. His footwork is unmatched at the JUCO level, and so is his speed, which is kind of freaky for his size. Some scouts have reported that Bolles runs a sub 4.9 40 yard-dash, which makes him deadly on screen passes and getting to the next level in the run game. Off the field, you can’t find a nicer, more down to earth young man, but you wouldn’t be able to tell by the way he plays the game, as he is very aggressive and not afraid to get in opponents faces. Whether it’s in pass pro, the run game or the screen game, Bolles can do it all.
Bolles will join the Utes just after the conclusion of this current spring semester, and will start working out with the team in the summer. While it’s unfortunate that he won’t be on the team for spring ball, he shouldn’t miss a beat and will likely start spring ball as the starter, or co-starter, at left tackle. With Utah returning 4 of 5 starters, and 2 part-time starters, Bolles will join an already very experienced offensive line group, and should push that position group in to the strength of the team. Enjoy Bolles while he’s at Utah, because it very well could be just one season before he’s off to the NFL.