Oregon football head coach Willie Taggart has begun “The Movement 2018” with a bang. The coach landed nine recruits, eight in a matter of 48 hours this spring, but none bigger than cornerback Isaiah Bolden.
Bolden is the first of our Oregon Football Commit Profiles that I will be publishing throughout the summer. We are just 88 days from the opener against Southern Utah on September 2. What better time to start getting prepped for football?
The Zephyrhills, Florida product was committed to Florida State for nearly a year. Yet, the new regime at Oregon intrigued the 4-star playmaker. In a shocking turn of events, the Wesley Chapel student de-committed from FSU and committed to the Ducks in April for the class of 2018.
“In life you take chances," said Bolden. “I love these coaches like no other. At this time I will like to flip my commitment and proudly say I'm a Duck.”
Duck fans are certainly glad he is gambling on glory in Eugene.
NEXT LEVEL COACHING
Bolden’s defensive coach Jim Leavitt played a pivotal role in the commitment. Last season, the defensive guru led his Colorado team to the Pac-12 Championship Game. Three of his four starters in the secondary were drafted this year by the NFL. Bolden recognized a great opportunity and pounced on it like a shaky pass to the sideline.
Bolden sets the standard today for a stud in the secondary at 6-foot-3. He will add weight (170 lbs) before he walks onto campus in 2018. Once the Oregon training staff gets ahold of him, he should explode into a defensive nightmare. He has a wide frame with a strong lower body. This kid is the real deal and will feast on Pac-12 quarterbacks under Leavitt. Eventually, he could transition into a dynamic player from the safety position.
He is currently considered the No. 161 overall player and the No. 16 cornerback by scout.com. Bolden is No. 186 overall by ESPN. He is a 4-star prospect with a ranging composite rank between 92-82 as a junior in high school. He is ranked between No. 30-40 overall by various scouting outlets from the star-packed state of Florida.
40 YARDS TO GLORY
Isaiah Bolden finished with a 4.61 time in the 40-yard dash. He is not the fastest player in the class, but he could be a perfect fit at safety if his speed does not increase. However, he has time to learn how to run more smoothly. Oregon aka Track Town USA will teach him. I only see his time improving over the next four years. He registered a 4.61 shuttle time. Bolden showed nice athleticism with a 35-inch vertical. The top speed from the 2018 recruiting class was 4.41 seconds.
Other than Florida State and Oregon, a field of others were interested in Bolden like the defending champions, Clemson. Louisville, Michigan, Auburn, Miami, Ohio State, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Duke, Tennessee, South Carolina, Virginia Tech, Florida and Minnesota highlighted his recruiters. One name might surprise you, but South Florida was heavy in the mix during Taggart’s time. He continued his interest after arriving in the Pacific Northwest. It paid off with huge dividends.
The Floridian is a hard hitter. Bolden looks for the contact, which you want from your defensive players. He is a physical player, even at 170 pounds. He can lay the wood on a consistent basis. He has very good hands for a defender. Bolden’s hips move well and shift effortlessly. His hips swivel sharply and he can change directions seamlessly. He keeps his pad level low and is a strong tackler, especially in the open field. Some think they can outrun him, but he measures his angles flawlessly. His recovery speed is superb.
As a running back in high school, alongside being a defensive back, he illustrates great vision. He breaks down the entire field and can see open lanes well in advance. Anytime he has the ball in his hands on defense, trust his teammates will be blocking 100 percent for him. He could score quite a few times in his Duck career. Bolden seems to have a nose for the end zone. His offensive change of pace is ridiculous.
He is also an extremely talented return man on special teams. You can watch him for yourself at the bottom of this article under FILM ANALYSIS. There you will find some game film from Bolden’s high school career.
There is very little that is glaringly obvious as a need to improve for Bolden. However, he will need to improve his footwork, as most incoming freshmen do. Once he knows where his feet are going, mainly under him, alongside a mental understanding of the scheme, Bolden will take the next step. A double-move can give a receiver some momentary space but his recovery speed is impressive.
A must is weight gain. At 170 pounds currently, he could not survive at the collegiate level. Thankfully, he still has a year of high school to gain strength. However, at this point it could be an issue that would have the stud redshirted for his freshman year. Florida State is known for developing secondary stars for the NFL, but there is a reason Bolden decided on Oregon instead. Taggart and company are just getting warmed up.
He is bigger than the average cornerback, so he could develop better change-of-direction habits on defense. If Leavitt can position him properly, Bolden will help improve a youthful but talented secondary. There is no position I’m looking forward to watching more than Oregon’s defensive backs over the next few years.
THE FINAL RULING
Bolden is going to be a mainstay on the Oregon defense and special teams. He will be starting by the end of his sophomore season. The Duck secondary will be downright scary once the 2018 class enters the fold.
I can see Bolden scoring a lot of touchdowns on defense and special teams. His vision is special and that will be illustrated weekly. Once Charles Nelson exits school, Bolden can slide right in as the game-changing x-factor on punts and kicks.
Video courtesy of Hype Sports Network via YouTube
Look for the next scouting profile in the coming days. Isaiah Bolden is the first name in a long line of incoming talent to Eugene. As we count down the days until Oregon football returns, we look forward to a bright future. Doing something.