Alabama landed its eighth commitment in the 2018 class when Louisiana wide receiver Slade Bolden chose the Crimson Tide over the TCU Horned Frogs on Thursday night.
Bolden, a 3-star prospect from West Monroe (La.) High School, became a priority for Alabama after his performance at the team’s high school camp last month. Entering that camp, Bolden had Alabama, LSU and TCU in his top three. He couldn’t commit to ‘Bama at the time, but before he left Tuscaloosa, his showcase was enough for the coaching staff to give him the green light.
Offensive coordinator Brian Daboll told Bolden and his mother that the recruit reminded him some of New England Patriots slot receiver Julian Edelman. Bolden’s coach at West Monroe, Jerry Arledge, told SEC Country that Alabama is getting a special player.
“I can say that he’s as good of an athlete as we’ve had come through here in the 26 years I’ve been here,” Arledge said.
Alabama offered Bolden, who will enroll early in school, as an athlete, but he’ll likely end up playing slot receiver. Arledge said he believes that’s what sold Bolden on wanting to commit to the Crimson Tide. Bolden himself said Daboll’s experience in New England where the slot receiver is vital made Alabama an attractive place to him.
“That definitely helps them,” Bolden told SEC Country. “Obviously, Alabama is going to have some of the best running backs in the country. They’re still going to run the ball. I know he’s going to incorporate some of what he learned in New England for this offense.”
The 5-foot-11, 198-pound prospect’s versatility is what makes him such an intriguing prospect. At West Monroe, he’s played quarterback, running back, wide receiver, cornerback, safety and special teams.
“He’s whatever you want him to be with his versatility,” Arledge said. “If you need a cornerback, he can play there. A safety, wide receiver, tailback — he could play them all at a high level. He doesn’t have great sprinter speed, but he has quickness, escapability. Those intangibles make you a football player and separates guys with talent.”
With Bolden on board, attention now shifts to several receiver targets who are still on the team’s wish list such as Justyn Ross, Seth Williams, Jaylen Waddle, Justin Watkins and Jacob Copeland, who committed to Florida in an exclusive video with SEC Country on Wednesday.
The plan has been to take three receivers, and if we are listing Bolden as an athlete, Alabama technically only has one receiver commit in 4-star prospect Xavier Williams. I believe Alabama will land Ross and Waddle, in addition to Williams.
One last note on Bolden: He has a 4.0 GPA and is in the National Honor Society. Arledge believes Bolden is the total package.
“He’s the type of kid who you want your son to grow up to be like and the type you want your daughter to marry,” Arledge said.