Over the last several years, the Oklahoma coaches have been successful mining the state of California for high school football talent. That continued Sunday evening when the Sooners landed a verbal commitment from Vista Murrieta (CA) linebacker/defensive end Curtis Bolton.
When word came earlier in the weekend that a commitment could be imminent, it came as somewhat of a surprise as most of the recruiting services had not previously been discussing Bolton and the Sooners. However, credit Tim Kish for keeping this one under the radar a bit and snagging the talented and versatile California product.
Though he is listed as a linebacker by most recruiting services, Bolton plays mostly defensive end for his high school team. And while highlight tapes always need to be judged cautiously, Bolton's first step and ability to make plays behind the line of scrimmage are exceptional.
On film Bolton is the explosive kind of athlete Oklahoma has so desperately been searching for at the linebacker position. Moves laterally incredibly well and displays a unique ability to not get caught up in the wash along the line of scrimmage. Delivers an impact when he meets the ball carrier and shows a good motor routinely chasing down plays from the backside.
At 6'2" 215 pounds he's a little undersized to play defensive end at the D-I level, but as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 and/or 3-3-5 scheme who rush off the edge and occasionally put his hand in the ground he could be very successful. As it was framed Sunday night on Twitter, think more Ronnell Lewis than Travis Lewis when considering him an outside linebacker.
Bolton joins Tay Evans as OU's second linebacker commit in this 2014 class and both fill a significant position of need as those who follow recruiting are all to aware. Prior to his commitment Bolton held offers from Arizona, Colorado, Fresno State, Iowa State, Washington, and Washington State.