Only 24 days until the Michigan football team charges through the tunnel at the Big House to start the 2014 season. I am excited to see Team 135 and what they will bring to the field this year. I am expecting a tough, physical defense because that is what coach Brady Hoke loves. He has preached toughness since the first day he arrived on campus. On the defensive side of the ball, they don’t get any tougher than linebacker Joe Bolden.
I first saw Bolden play three years ago at the Under Armour All America Game, where he was a captain. Immediately I loved his physical presence on the field. He was always right there where the ball was and making big hits on the offensive players. I knew he would fit in perfect at Michigan.
Last year as a sophomore the 6-3 linebacker recorded 54 tackles and 2 sacks. The 2 year letterman had four starts for the Wolverines in the 2013 season. Now as a junior, he is expected to see the field a lot more. After the spring practice Bolden was the winner of the 2014 Meyer Morton Award, which is given to the player who shows the greatest development and most promise.
Bolden is one of those football players that goes full speed for every snap, no matter if it’s practice or a real game. His toughness is getting noticed by the coaches and the other players too. At the B1G media day quarterback Devin Gardner was asked who has stepped up defensively. Gardner said, “Joe Bolden. He’s a very high energy, high intensity guy.”
This season Bolden will compete for the starting weak side linebacker spot with Desmond Morgan. Most people give the edge to Morgan but if he does not perform well, look for Bolden to take his place and get the job done. With Jake Ryan moving to middle linebacker, this strengthens the entire linebacker position and allows Bolden to lock down his side of the field.
Bolden coming off the weak side should be able to double his sack numbers from last year along with his tackles for loss. Look for him to get at least 65 tackles and be a dominant force on the Michigan defense. I believe the defense will be improved from last year and will keep the Wolverines in every game.