Michigan had two commitments playing in the Under Armour All-America game last night on ESPN. Linebacker Joe Bolden (Cincinnati/Colerain) and defensive back Terry Richardson (Detroit/Cass Tech) both started for their team and were out to prove themselves on the field.
Bolden, who is already a four-star and the sixth-ranked inside linebacker on ESPNU, might have done more than prove himself. All week scouts and reporters were raving about Bolden's ability and natural instincts at the position. Naturally, though, Bolden just went about his business and didn't think much of what he did throughout the week.
"I wanted to win, but obviously that didn't happen. It was neat to play with the nation's top talent," he said. "There was really nothing to it, if you're going to be down there you might as well practice and play hard."
Bolden was even named as one of his team's captains after his stellar showing in practice leading up to the game. As someone coming into the game maybe a little less publicized than others, Bolden was thankful for the recognition.
"It's definitely an honor to be named captain of my team. It was a step up from high school ball; everyone is bigger and faster so that's great," he said.
Since he is an early enrollee at Michigan, Bolden is set to report to Ann Arbor on Saturday and believes that this experience will be a big help in his transition to the next level.
"Most guys don't get the opportunity to put pads on and play in January. I think that helps, and especially with spring ball, it will help me adjust," he said. "Working with the NFL coaches, I think it helped me understand coverages better, too. I never in my life ran a 4-3 defense either, so that got me familiar with other schemes."
Bolden is your typical workhorse, humble, just get the job done kind of guy. Family is most important to him, and school and football aren't far behind. All three are now on his mind as he prepares to take on the next challenge in his life.
"That was my first time playing away from home, and I've been away from my brothers and sisters for a week, so I'm excited to see them," he said. "I'm excited to get up to Ann Arbor to get in the class room and on the field, and I'm also a little nervous. It will be a little ways away from my family, but I'll adjust."