2024 athlete KJ Bolden is a consensus top five prospect nationally, and he has offers to play on either side of the football. He returned to Tennessee this weekend for another look at Josh Heupel's program and discussed his thoughts on the trip with Volunteer Country.
"I really like Coach Pope, Coach Max (Thurmond) and Coach Heupel," the elite prospect said of why he wanted to return to Tennessee. "Good staff and they're all cool. When I came up here, just felt like I was home. They offered me when I was in ninth grade, so I feel like they saw potential in me when I was younger, and I definitely had to get back up here."
Bolden is an a high-caliber prospect on either side of the football, but Tennessee likes him as a receiver currently.
"They have me as an offensive guy right now, as an outside receiver with a little bit of slot," he said of this. "Some schools recruit me as both. Tennessee is receiver, and some schools are DB. There's a mixture."
For Bolden there is no real preference on which position he plans at the college level, but he is planning to narrow his focus after his junior season.
"I plan on making a decision after this season on what I really want to play," he said of this. "Right now it's 50/50. I hope this season helps me out a little more on that front."
Bolden did not camp with the Vols during the weekend, but he still looked on as Kelsey Pope worked with other prospects, and he liked what he was able to see.
"I like that he's into the game and coaches you," Bolden said of Pope. "I got to see him coach some guys and it was working. They won their reps. That matters to me."
It is early in his recruitment, but after having made two stops to Tennessee, Bolden admits he likes the way the coaching staff has approached his recruitment and the legacy of great players to come through Knoxville.
"The coaching staff are chill and laid back and real with you," Bolden said of one thing he likes about Tennessee. "And that plays a big factor for me. SEC. And Tennessee is Tennessee. Peyton's been here. Reggie White. Lot of greats have been here."
Bolden added that he has been talking to the Tennessee staff almost weekly, and he plans to see them again in the fall.
"I'm definitely coming back for the Alabama game or the Florida game," he said.
Elsewhere he plans to take some trips to different schools across the country.
"I know I'm going to Georgia vs. South Carolina game," he said. "I will be going to a Michigan game, a Texas A&M game, and then a USC game."
As Bolden tries to sort through the 35 Division 1 offers he already holds, he knows what he is looking for in a school.
"Who's family? Where do I feel at home?" Bolden said of this. "I want to go to a school that feels like my house. And that has a good coaching staff with a head coach that's real with me. That plays a big factor."
He plans to narrow his focus coming out of the summer, then making a decision by the beginning of his senior season.
"I plan on committing at maybe the beginning of my senior season," Bolden said. "I'll drop my top 13 in late July. Tennessee will definitely try to make a way on to that list after this visit.
Dale Dowden contributed to this feature