September 29, 2011

Joe Bolden anxious to get to Michigan

Though he's committed to Michigan's class of 2012, Cincinnati (Ohio) Colerain linebacker Joe Bolden wasn't always a fan of the Wolverines. In fact, one of their rival teams was the object of the young Bolden's affections.

The defensive pedigree of Michigan's coaching staff was too much for Bolden to pass up once he earned the opportunity to become a Wolverine. Head coach Brady Hoke has been a defensive line coach in the past, and defensive coordinator Greg Mattison was most recently with the Baltimore Ravens, who have a reputation as one of the best defensive teams in the NFL. Mattison in particular is a great recruiter, according to Bolden.

Only in his first year on the job, Mattison has already impressed Bolden. The Ohio linebacker has watched all of Michigan's games so far - the most recent, a 28-7 victory over San Diego State, in person - and thinks the defense is on the right track.

It's not just the history of success among the members of Michigan's coaching staff that has Bolden excited to strap on the winged helmet. He also is enamored with the tradition and history of the Wolverines' program and the school itself.

Bolden has taken after his future head coach, Brady Hoke, in referring to the hated Buckeyes of Ohio State as simply "Ohio." The fans of that program are not too fond of the four-star choosing to take his talents up North. According to Bolden though, the Wolverines will continue having success recruiting in their neighbor to the South.

Bolden's father, Dan, is also the athletic director at Colerain. In his dual role, he has to make sure not only that his son is happy, but also that the University of Michigan and Colerain High School will reflect well upon each other.

Michigan passed the test on both accounts, and Dan Bolden is happy to see his son headed to Ann Arbor. In fact, the athletic offices at Colerain High School have a new decoration. When one of the secretaries was cleaning out her children's toy chest this spring, she found a University of Michigan-themed toy RV. Knowing that Joe Bolden had recently committed to the Wolverines, she gave the model to Dan.

He'll be visiting his son in college sooner than originally expected. Eager to hit the field as early as possible in his Michigan career, Joe Bolden will graduate from Colerain this December, and enroll at Michigan in January. Getting into Michigan's system and going through spring practice with the team will be a benefit to his career. He's used to putting in the hard work to see results.

He'll spend this winter bulking up in the weight room and diving into Michigan's defensive playbook. He's already 6-3, 225 pounds, but knows that won't be big enough at the college level. He also knows that being an impressive physical specimen means nothing if a player doesn't know how he fits in the scheme, and how to be in the right place at the right time.

The opportunity for playing time is evident for the player who says Greg Mattison described him as a "throwback" linebacker. The Wolverines' current starting middle linebacker, Kenny Demens, will graduate following Bolden's first year at Michigan. Enrolling early will give him a chance to learn from Demens before taking the reins when it's his turn.

In the end, Michigan was the perfect fit for Bolden, and Bolden is the perfect fit for Michigan. The Wolverines' family atmosphere simply sealed the deal for this highly-touted Ohio native.

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