Ohio LB Joe Bolden (6'2", 225 lbs) was in Ann Arbor a few weeks ago with his dad and his uncle, who also happens to be his coach. He decided to take another trip back up, but this time with his mom and dad. Here's his highlight film and his thoughts on the visit.
TOM: You were just in Ann Arbor a few weeks ago, so what prompted this visit?
JOE: I didn't see as much as I wanted to last time. This time we got to drive through campus, see the classrooms, and we just got to see a lot more than last time. We go the grand tour of everything. I didn't get to see a dorm because there weren't any vacant, but I got to see the building that I would be living in.
TOM: I know you went up with your dad and uncle last time, who went with you this time?
JOE: Just my mom and dad.
TOM: What did they think of the visit. Your dad has seen campus before, but this was the first time for mom. How did she like it?
JOE: She really liked it. She really liked Coach Hoke, and Mrs. Hoke and Mrs. Mattison were actually up there so she got to talk to them for awhile too. To me she seemed pretty impressed.
TOM: Did they have questions for the coaches that they, as parents, wanted answered? I know moms can be protective sometimes.
JOE: Not really any more questions, they pretty much answered everything before I asked them. Coach Hoke without my parents even asking answered everything. We sat down for about 45 minutes and just talked about me living up there. He talked about her being a mom and obviously she's protective. He told her that if I were to choose Michigan that I'd be safe and taken care of.
TOM: So where are you at right now with the process? I know you told me last time that you think you're getting close, but what does that mean?
JOE: Right now I have it narrowed down to a couple schools that I'm very serious about, but I want to keep those quiet so I don't give anyone the wrong impression. I'm getting as much information on them as I can, and talking to as many good resources as I can.
TOM: How will you know when you're ready to decide?
JOE: I still haven't gotten the chance to sit down with my mother, father, and uncle and weigh out the pro's and con's of everything. My uncle wasn't at school today, but we'll probably sit down in the next couple days. I really don't have a timeline, it could happen tomorrow or it could happen in February. I'm not sure yet.
TOM: When you say weigh everything out, what are you thinking about with regards to each school?
JOE: Academics has always been a big part of my life. My parents have stressed school work comes before the game of football, so that's number one. If I fit into the program, if I like the coaches, and if the university has tradition, a good winning tradition.
I didn't want to put this in the interview obviously, but every year there's a few kids that really impress me and Joe is one for this class. Every time I talk to him he impresses me more and more. He's very poised, mature, and just seems like a really sincere kid. He also happens to be pretty good at football, too.
I can't get enough of these kids' impressions of the coaching staff. Hoke is the real deal and can lure a serious class to UM. I told myself I would wait to see how they are on the field before falling in love, but reading these reactions is making it very difficult.
Check out my blog about the role of the mind in sport and exercise.
I hope Joe Bolden doesn't wait until February, but more for his sake. I'd love to have him as a piece of this team, but if he waits until after the season even, I bet his spot is filled up, and I don't know if Bolden is a guy you give a spot to when you're essentially full at that position. I think the coaches only want 2 LBs, maybe 3. We already have one. If an RJS or Biggs type player commits before Bolden, I'm not sure he'll have his spot available. He might want to strike while the iron is hot.
That said, I think he'll commit sooner rather than later.
I can still see us making room for four if Ross and RJS commit. Turning either one of them away would be beyond insane. If we take both Bolden and Ringer, I'm thinking that the staff either doens't feel good about their chances with one of the Michigan LBs, or they are prepared somehow to take four.