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September 9, 2013

Sooner Commit Going from Recruit to Recruiter

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These days, recent Oklahoma commitment Curtis Bolton isn't the easiest guy to get on the phone.

The 6-foot-2, 215-pound linebacker doesn't currently have a cell phone and as such can be tough for reporters to reach. Fortunately for the Sooners coaching staff it also means that other coaching staffs aren't having much luck reaching their newest pledge.

The three-star linebacker from Murrieta (Calif.) Vista Murrieta committed to Oklahoma on Aug. 25 and has since had little contact with any coach, outside of Sooner assistant Tim Kish. And while not hearing from multiple staffs might bother some prospects, for Bolton it's a non-issue.

"Other than Oklahoma, I really haven't been talking to other schools because my phone is a big issue. They don't have any way of contacting me and I don't really take the time to reach out to any other schools," Bolton explained.

And though Oklahoma isn't facing a lot of competition for Bolton since his commitment, that's not to say that some around Bolton aren't talking about the distance from home and the reality he hasn't yet seen Norman.

"You know, that's what everyone has been telling me. It's not the distance, it is a lot different from where I'm at in SoCal, I'm not worried about it, the area I'm not worried about anymore it's a great school, great tradition and area I'm not really worried because I've been hearing nothing but the best," he said. "I'll just have to adapt to it, over the time that I'm there."

Bolton is aware that Oklahoma's presence in Southern California has grown exponentially in the last five years and already has plans to speak to several of his fellow San Diegans who have made their way to Norman.

"Yeah, I plan on getting in contact with them and there are a lot of SoCal football guys, Kenny Stills, who is in the NFL right now. That was definitely a plan for me and see how they are transitioning from a place like California to a Midwest place like Oklahoma," he said.

When Bolton made his decision recently he knew he was going to surprise some people after spending much of his time giving the impression that he would in fact stay closer to the west coast. However, over time he says that not only Kish but his own coaches at Vista Murrieta that sold him on Norman.

"I was a big west coast guy in general but Washington was one of those schools and Boise were one of those schools that I looked at but Oklahoma always had my eye. It came just over time talking to coach Kish talking and to my coaching staff more and my coaches they instilled that Oklahoma is the best place for me and through more of my research I found out it was the best place to be," Bolton stated.

Bolton, who started his season on Friday with a 66-28 win over Downey - a game in which he had seven tackles, three for loss, and a sack -, had a chance to watch the Sooners on Saturday night in their 16-7 win over West Virginia. The talented linebacker target, who features as a defensive end in high school, was seen as an intriguing offer when it was made - would Oklahoma move some people around to make his talent work within the defense?

That's exactly what has happened and Bolton already knows what role he could be filling in at once he gets to Oklahoma.

"Oh you know, defense wins championships," Bolton recited. "It was a game of field position but they came through real nice. They could have done some things better but with the coaching staff that Oklahoma has they'll get it corrected. They said it on the broadcast, it was a good boxing matchup."

So did he know that he might have a newly imagined role in Oklahoma's defense?

"Back in February and March they pretty much told me that they would be doing something with me at linebacker, that was the biggest thing that I liked. They were changing things and I could play a role that fits me," he said. "It's pretty much, Eric Striker's role, not as a defensive line pass rusher but more as a depth pass rush. It's a big difference between blitzing from depth and coming out of a stance. I'm just trying to be another threat on defense. I'm trying to come in as a freshman and make an impact, if I can't start I'm just trying to help the team as much as I can."

Bolton, who stars for a top-shelf Murrieta team that is currently ranked No. 70 nationally in this week's RivalsHigh rankings, is one of six players on the Broncos defense to hold a division one offer with three, including Bolton, already committed to BCS programs. He was glad to have the season underway and says that Oklahoma's dominant defensive performance is in line with Vista's traditions.

"We blew them out, it wasn't much of a game. You know, traditionally Vista has always been a defensive team, we've got a safety, two other linebackers committed and myself committed to Oklahoma. We've got a pretty nice defense. We've been together for a minute now, they've had a few guys come in on offense and help us out a little bit though too," he said. "Defensively we've been really proud of our performances."

And though he is one of a load of talented prospects he assumed a leadership role that comes with seniority is something that is quite natural to him.

"You know, ever since my sophomore year I've been a leader on the team, I've stepped up a bit this year because our two or three year starting quarterback graduated and it puts a lot of pressure on me to be that guy," he said.

Now he'll choose to be a leader of his recruiting class as Bolton says he already has plans to join the efforts of the previous commitments in trying to reel in players from coast to coast.

"That's the thing, I've yet to talk to a few of the recruits but I'm getting back on Twitter a lot more and I'll get to work more and more - that's going to be another main point and talk to the other highly recruited guys about coming to Oklahoma," he said. "I'm trying to get the best guys out in the area, to talk nothing but good."



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