August 18, 2011

From the film room: Joe Bolden

Four-star linebacker Joe Bolden's senior season gets underway Aug. 28 when Colerain High School heads south to Florida to take on Cocoa High School. The 6-2, 225-pounder is impressive on film ...

Our anonymous film evaluator is a former two-year starter for the Wolverines.

Strengths: Bolden's size at 6-2, 225 pounds gives him a great physcial edge on the field and a strong basis for future growth. He shows a strong sense for the ball on both pass and run defense. I love his aggressive style of tackling and his enthusiasm on the field. Bolden drives his feet on contact when he tackles to prevent the runner from getting that extra yard. Also, never dismiss a player's desire to get to the ball. In this film, I could tell that Bolden wants to get to the ball on every snap.

Areas of Improvement: This film didn't show a whole lot of Bolden taking on blocks and shedding blocks. This may not be an area of improvement as much as it is simply unknown based on the film I watched. He certainly has the physical tools to defeat high school blocks. I'd like to see more film of him shedding offensive linemen and taking on blocking backs.

Projection: MIKE linebacker.

Michigan Player Comparison: Erick Anderson (1988-91) - Anderson was a tough middle linebacker that played with great desire and an aggressive mentality. He practiced as hard as fans saw him play and made his teammates better. Bolden's size reminds me of Anderson's, and his tackling style looks the same as well.

Bottom Line: Bolden has the tools to develop into an impressive Big Ten linebacker. Like all high school players taking their game to the next level, he will have to continue to develop his strengths to make tackles on Big Ten running backs.

There is one key indicator that I always look for in a defensive player - how hard does he work to get to the ball? Players that are always sprinting and working their tails off to get to the ball, no matter where it is on the field, are a joy to watch. Bolden shows that desire in his film. If you show me a defense that has 11 guys that have a relentless pusuit of the football, I'll show you one heck of a defense. Bolden is one of those kind of players.

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