Bubba Bolden came to Miami as a key member of the Hurricanes haul of transfers this past off-season. He signed to USC after an extremely successful career at Bishop Gorman is Las Vegas, where he was teammates with Tate Martell and star tight end Brevin Jordan.
As a Trojan, Bolden appeared in thirteen games during his true freshman campaign in 2017 and even earned a starting spot heading into the 2018 season before an off-field event derailed his football career.
He was facing a 28-game suspension at USC for an incident at a party that involved underage drinking and mutual trash talking that was reported to USC’s office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards, according to the LA Times.
The door then opened for the former star safety to further his education and play football at Miami.
Bolden was prepared to lace up his cleats for the opener, but the day before the Hurricanes took on the Gators the NCAA unexpectedly deemed him ineligible. He wouldn’t be able to start his season until Oct. 5, a year from the date he withdrew from USC.
Now, Bolden is set to make his Miami Hurricanes debut at a position that is young and inexperienced. The only problem, which Hurricanes safeties coach Ephraim Banda noted Tuesday during post-practice interviews, was that he hasn't played in a college game in a really long time.
“I know Bubba is super intelligent. I know he’s a really good athlete...I know he’ll be in the right area at the right place,” Banda said Tuesday.
But the way the 6 foot 3 inch redshirt sophomore tackles is ultimately going to dictate how much he’s going to play for Miami.
“Bubba’s reps will be completely, 100 percent, a result of how he tackles,” Banda said. “If Bubba tackles, Bubba will play.”
It’s not just tackling though. Head coach Manny Diaz and Banda want to see Bolden tackle like a Miami Hurricane.
“We’re never gonna change our philosophy of what gets you on the field at the University of Miami on defense. You will tackle if you will play. If you don’t tackle, you won't play,” Banda said.
How do Bolden’s teammates feel about the skill set that he brings?
“He’s a great person to have out there covering,” tight end Will Mallory said Tuesday. “He's lengthy, he’s tall, he’s physical and he’s got great hips and he covers well and he even strikes down at the ball pretty well...he’s a dangerous person to have out there and we’re really excited to have him out here this week.”
Wide receiver Mike Harley, who faced Bolden in high school, said that he’d never seen a playmaker on defense like him.
“That guys special,” Harley said. “He’s like a sore thumb — he stands out. And he brings that on Greentree as well.”
Many are waiting for the debut of the highly touted transfer and former Army All-American and we know what he has to do to make his first game back on the field a memorable one — he needs to tackle like a Miami Hurricanes.