Name: Joe Bolden
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Ratings: ESPN – Watch List* (40), Scout – 4*, 247 Sports - 4*
Recruitment: Bolden grew up an Ohio State fan, but he received a lot of attention from Michigan early on. He visited Ann Arbor at least three times and built solid relationships with the coaching staff. He announced Michigan as his leader in early spring, and with two linebackers already committed, Bolden didn’t wait long to commit.
Offers: Michigan, Arizona, Arkansas, Boston College, Cincinnati, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, UNC, N.C State, Northwestern, Penn State, USF, Stanford, Tennessee, West Virginia and some others.
Stats: Currently stands at 6’3 and 225lbs. As a junior he made 90 tackles, four sacks and two interceptions. I couldn’t find a forty yard dash time.
ESPN Analysis: None available.
Scout Analysis: "He has very good size, and he's a tough, hard-nosed football player. He's a classic, throwback type linebacker, but he's not just a run stuffer. He runs well and shows good ability in coverage. I think he can be an every-down linebacker and that's why so many schools are after him... Put that all together and he has a shot at playing early and often."
From the man himself: “The linebacker is the quarterback of the defense. I think I’m a great leader and communicator. My voice is heard on the field and I play smart. I’m also a big hitter and when I make contact I drop and go through people. I can also move well sideline-to-sideline. My game is not perfect and I’m always trying to do things better and get better at everything.”
Film Highlights: Link here. (50 secs)
Final Thoughts: Bolden is a solid prospect and so far is a consensus four star recruit. However, given that Michigan took four LB’s last year, it’s unlikely that Bolden avoids the redshirt. As for his position, I think it’ll be OLB because I know the coaches want RJS at MLB, and Kaleb Ringer is also listed as an MLB.
Bolden is the third LB commit in this class, and now we must speculate about whether Brady Hoke wants to take another LB, namely in state prospect James Ross. I find it hard to believe that Michigan could pass on the top player in state, assuming Ross wants to be a Wolverine.