Things are heating up for defensive back/wide receiver Bernard Bolden (5-9, 185, 4.45) from Merced, Calif., as he currently has four Pac 10 offers on the table. The consensus feeling on Bolden he's one of the best defensive back prospects out of Northern California this season.
Bolden currently holds four offers from Arizona, Arizona State, Cal and Washington State. He is hearing from virtually all the other Pac 10 schools, plus UConn, Miami and Vanderbilt have requested tape.
"Bernard has incredible versatility," Merced coach Rob Scheidt said. "He played 14 games as a cornerback his sophomore season and 12 games as a safety his junior year.
"Bernard's first offers came from schools that run the spread offense," Scheidt said. "They thought they could use him in the slot or at running back.
"As a defensive back, he has been compared to Bob Sanders of the Indianapolis Colts," Scheidt said. "Because of the way he fills the alley, and delivers the blow.
"On defense he plays safety for us because we wanted the opposition to have to play both sides of the field," Scheidt said. "He probably projects as a cornerback on the next level.
Bolden earned all-Northern California, all-State underclassmen, all-area, all-district and was League Defensive Player of the Year honors as a junior from his safety position after racking up 63 tackles and four picks. He returned one of his interceptions back to the house for a score.
From his running back position, Bolden rushed for 560 yards on 63 carries and nine touchdowns. He also had five receptions for 76 yards and one touchdown.
As a punt returner, Bolden had 113 yards on nine returns with a long of 77 yards and one touchdown. He returned four kicks for 172 yards with a long of 90 yards and another touchdown.
In an earlier interview with Scheidt he had the following to say about his hard hitting athlete.
"Bernard is very good in space and has great instincts and closing speed," Scheidt said. "In his first two games, he picked off four passes and returned one for a touchdown.
"After the first two games our opposition stopped throwing to the middle of the field," Scheidt said. "I can only remember one other pass thrown down the middle.
Bolden also has bloodlines. His cousin is Kevin Bland who is currently at Fresno City College and is getting recruiting action from Washington, Cal, USC and Fresno State.