Florida State’s recruiting was absolutely on fire in July, landing over ten commitments. However, it only took one commitment in August to put the college football world on notice.
There’s no better way to shoot down the false narrative among our rival fan bases that Mike Norvell can’t recruit high school kids than to go toe-to-toe with a recruiting juggernaut for a 5-star and win. That is exactly what Norvell did by landing the #1 Safety in the 2024 call, KJ Bolden.
All the crystal ball picks by the “recruiting experts” had Bolden headed to play for Kirby Smart at UGA, but the Noles ultimately landed his commitment.
Florida State was Bolden’s first FBS offer back in 2020 and his dream school growing up. Although the Noles had a head start, they had to fight off a powerhouse in Bolden’s home state. Make no mistake, Georgia pushed hard for Bolden. Georgia spent a lot of time recruiting Bolden, and Kirby Smart had been personally involved in his recruitment.
FSU was able to win out even through a position coach change. The tide started to turn when Bolden took a multi-day unofficial visit to Tallahassee in June. He spent time with Patrick Surtain, a 3-time Pro Bowl selection during his 11-year NFL career and someone who knows a thing or two about being a high-level defensive back. Surtain is off to a great start in his first college coaching role. So far, he’s landed 4-star Rydarrius Morgan, 5-star Charles Lester, and now 5-star KJ Bolden.
Looking at what Bolden brings to the table. The 6-foot-1, 185-pound defensive back hales from Burford, Georgia, and is a versatile athlete. He plays both ways on his high school team, which plays in one of Georgia’s higher classifications, meaning he has proven himself against good competition. His high school alone has 3 of the top 5 recruits from Georgia.
Bolden is a speedy player with a track and field background. He ran a 10.76 100-meter as a freshman and placed in the triple jump, which speaks to his athleticism. He has a high football IQ and puts himself in the correct position to make plays often. Bolden isn’t scared to get physical, even with a smaller frame. That physicality should only increase once he’s had some time with Coach Storms to add bulk. As a two-way player, he also has good ball skills, which can help him as a defensive back. Bolden was a MaxPreps 2nd-team All-American his junior year.
Schools like Georgia and Alabama don’t recruit just anybody with their current level of success. KJ was a massive get for FSU for much more than momentum in recruiting. The Noles also get an elite recruit in the secondary to carry on the tradition of being DBU. Could Lester and Bolden be the second coming of Derwin James and Jalen Ramsey? I sure hope so.
The momentum in recruiting was noticed on a national level, and even Bolden says he plans to put on his recruiting hat and get to work bringing in additional talent. Adding KJ Bolden, who is the #7 overall player in the 2024 class, bumped Tribe 24 up to 4th in the 247 Composite rankings, and they remain 1st in the ACC.
The 2024 class is shaping up to be the type that can transform the future of FSU when paired with the pieces they already have. With FSU recruiting the high school ranks at a top 5 level and being the king of transfer portal recruiting, you can’t help but get excited thinking about what the roster could look like in the coming years.
Thank you for reading. Go Noles!
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