While everyone was talking about defensive lineman Hunter Dimick’s amazing outing at Pro Day after being snubbed by the NFL Combine in February. there was another man in the Eccles Field House having himself a day.
And it wasn’t a player.
Utah offensive line coach Jim Harding has continually proven to the Utah faithful that he has been worth his salt from the day he set foot on campus in 2014 and he may be experiencing one of his biggest accomplishments yet with the Utes; sending four offensive linemen to the NFL.
Garett Bolles, Isaac Asiata, Sam Tevi and JJ Dielman have all intrigued the league and have started to draw attention to the fact that Utah can produce great offensive line talent thanks in large part to Harding’s efforts.
“That’s huge and I think it speaks volumes to how well of an offensive line coach we have here at Utah that he was able to get us ready both on the field and in the classroom,” Asiata said of his coach after Pro Day.
Fellow lineman Bolles had similar thoughts on Harding adding it will only help Utah going forward in recruiting. “I think we are the best college in the nation. Our offensive line was so strong with Isaac, Sam, Leka [Uhatafe]- all of those guys that continued to work,” he said. “I worked with the best four guys next to me and we continued to put something special and it’s going to be a great thing for our university recruiting guys and knowing they can come in here and have a chance to play in the NFL.”
Not only has Harding done a great job of physically preparing players to go to the next level but he has also done a fantastic job helping them be mentally prepared as well. Asiata was grinning ear to ear explaining to the media how teams wanted to make sure he was just as smart as he is strong after his 35 bench press reps at the Combine last month.
“I had a couple of coaches want to meet with me,” Asiata said. “They saw what I did on the bench and wanted to make sure I wasn’t some meathead or have the brain to go with the brawns.”
Bolles also understands the importance of being disciplined and demonstrating that in everything he does from workouts, to going home and being a husband and father. “Making sure I take care of my body, make sure I’m eating right, make sure I do things I need to do to make myself that much more valuable and that much better when it comes to the game going into rookie mini camp and OTAs and hopefully going into the season,” he said.
As for being a little bit older than the average NFL rookie due to going on an LDS Church Mission Bolles is not worried one bit. “My age is a very positive thing. I’ve only played football for three years,” he said. “I don’t have any wear and tear on my body. I’ve never had a surgery and that is what I want people to know. I have so much upside and growth. My age is a positive and I’m beyond blessed to be where I’m at. I have so much growth and I continue to work every single day.”
For Asiata simply making it to the NFL is not good enough- it’s about proving he belongs there and having the longevity in his career. “Right now I’m hearing second, third, fourth which is nice. To me that is great,” he said. “I want to get drafted, I want to hear my name and all of that stuff but the most important thing to me is staying. Not making it but staying in the league and being there for a long time and getting that second contract.”