The 2017 USC football recruiting class has its big hitter, with safety Bubba Bolden of Las Vegas faxing in his LOI on Signing Day.
Four-star safety Bubba Bolden, the 8th-ranked safety in the 2017 class, was the first recruit to commit to the Trojans after the hiring of Clay Helton at the end of the 2015 season. But following a de-commitment before his senior season at Bishop Gorman, he made USC’s coaching staff work for his signature.
Bolden ultimately announced his commitment to the Trojans at the Army All-American Game over Arizona State and that was all she wrote.
The 61st-ranked athlete in the 247Sports Composite, Bolden is an athletic, play-making safety known for sound ball skills in the mold of prominent USC safeties like Taylor Mays and T.J. McDonald.
Bolden, at 6-foot-3 and 192 pounds, is the first Trojan signee from Las Vegas powerhouse Bishop Gorman since Xavier Grimble in 2010. Gorman has won three-straight national championships and 53-straight games, while Bolden himself hasn’t lost a football game since seventh grade.
Where He Fits in 2017
The Trojans defensive backfield is stacked, as USC returns three safeties with starting experience –Chris Hawkins, Marvell Tell and John Plattenburg– along with untapped potential in the form of Ykili Ross and Jamel Cook.
But Bolden, along with fellow 2017 classmate Isaiah Pola-Mao, should compete for playing time early given USC’s penchant for playing a wealth of nickel packages and the loss of senior Leon McQuay III.
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Like with Tell, Bolden’s size plays into the physicality defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast looks for from his safeties. The question is whether he can earn the trust to play in 2017, as Pendergast is notorious for playing a short bench due to the complexity of his coverage schemes.
High School Highlights
He Reminds Us Of…Taylor Mays
At 6-foot-3, Bolden is a tall, physical safety in a more slender mold of Taylor Mays. But what he lacks in sheer size –Mays had almost 30 pounds on him coming out of high school– he makes up in athleticism.
Case in point, in the Army All-American game, he leaped high over the long snapper and blocked a field goal by kicking it out of the hands of the holder. He then proceeded to return it for a touchdown.
It’s also fitting that Bolden wore the No. 2 jersey during his official visit to USC, leading to some discussion as to whether he’d wear Mays’ old number.