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Former Penn State DT Corey Bolds joining Rutgers Football

Defensive line depth gets a boost with “walk-on”.

Purdue v Rutgers
Bolds figures in the mix to replace the NFL bound Wilkins.
Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

With a tad under three months to go before the 2019 season, Rutgers football has added another player to the mix. Former 3-star linebacker prospect Corey Bolds has joined the program. The 2017 Penn State Nittany Lion signee was granted his full release after the 2017 season and wraps up his JUCO course work at ASA college in Brooklyn soon. Bolds posted on Twitter:

Bolds is being reported officially as a walk-on at Rutgers since the team does have a scholarship crunch, but if he shows the potential that garnered so much interest he will likely earn one after this season. Ash continues to add talent to the roster through non-traditional routes, and this is a crucial get because defensive tackle depth is so hard to come by. Graduating its top two defensive tackles (Kevin Wilkins and Jon Bateky), both multi-year starters, means there is plenty of playing time available for anyone who can earn it.

During his initial recruitment, Bolds was listed as the 15th best player in New Jersey per 247 composite and 46th best defensive tackle prospect nationally. He held an impressive offer list of at least seventeen schools on signing day, ALL of which were Power Five schools including virtually the entire Big Ten East division. At one time prior, he also reportedly held offers from Alabama and Oklahoma as well. Had he joined the 2017 Scarlet Knight recruiting class, he would have been the 4th highest rated prospect.

The Paterson native was a high school teammate at Paramus Catholic of current Rutgers linebacker Drew Singleton, who also returned home recently from a B1G East foe in Michigan. After Singleton went down to injury prior to their senior year, opponents focused most of their blocking schemes specifically to slow down Bolds causing his stock to drop somewhat. Despite the criticism, the Paladins still won the state title WITHOUT the number one player in the entire state (Singleton) and no defensive line coach. So Bolds still held the pretty impressive offer list previously mentioned. Then as Todderick Hunt reported, Bolds indicates his mother fell in love with Penn State even though he reportedly preferred Rutgers. He elected to go JUCO too soon after receiving his release from PSU and returned to the tri-state area when his grandfather fell ill. Word is that his academic standing is good.

There’s absolutely ZERO downside to this move. Teams need to add as many players as possible simply big enough to compete in the trenches on the interior line. Sometimes it doesn’t work out, like it didn’t with another former Paladin, Terrence Harris, but you have to keep rolling the dice at DT. The other aspect of this position is team want to rotate nine or ten guys when possible and with injuries all available players at the spot often get an opportunity to play. The defensive line “playbook” is not nearly the same challenge for incoming players either, the reason they take time to join the rotation is to grow into their bodies. Bolds is already two years into his college experience, so he is much farther along than incoming freshmen out of high school.

On film from high school, Bolds lines up all over the defensive front. Even at times when he is not properly set, he has just enough quickness to engage the offensive lineman while still keeping an arm free. His natural weight is higher than most underclassmen and therefore didn’t need to add a ton of weight at any stop thus far. He is not as athletic as Kevin Wilkins who also lined up at defensive end at times, but Bolds did so to limit the blocking schemes that could be used against him.

Even during his “down” senior year, I was more impressed with the highlights because Corey was faster and slightly improved his already good hand technique. The reason he was at times late to set up was because he was the one lining up the other members of the defensive front in the absence of Singleton. Bolds faced a variety of double teams including straight up center and guard or pulling guard or tackle to help. Even situations where a back didn’t wait for a free rusher or blitzer but instead immediately ran up the line to help out his offensive lineman with a double team, something I haven’t seen backs do virtually ever in almost all my years of watching film. When offenses ran at him, they often assumed the initial guard or center would be beat and had the pulling opposite guard come as a second man specifically responsible for Bolds.

In his JUCO film, Bolds is even bigger, faster, stronger, and quicker. He still does not possess elite quick twitch explosion, but enough to succeed at 1-technique or 3-technique. He is not just a guy who puts his head down and plows forward, so he could be successful in either a one-gap or two-gap scheme. Ideally he would play a 3-tech on early downs, but could shift anywhere along the line on third down. Rutgers returns Julius Turner at nose guard, but may need Bolds to give him rest at times. Willington Previlon is a solid rotational player at defensive tackle, but also is much better when he is getting regular rest. The rest of the spots on the interior line are totally up for grabs.

Most importantly, Bolds WANTS to be at Rutgers when he could have gotten a scholarship immediately elsewhere, possibly in the Power Five. The draw of coming home and re-joining Singleton is obviously a huge factor in this decision. Hopefully his ability to overcome adversity and energy will be infectious.

Here are some highlights from his high school career:

Welcome to the Banks, Corey!