MADISON WI - SEPTEMBER 18: Omar Bolden #3 of the Arizona State Sun Devils returns a kick-off for a touchdown against the Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium on September 18 2010 in Madison Wisconsin. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Omar Bolden lives a life based on his personal mantra of "positive living", despite a premature end to his Sun Devil career, as he missed his senior campaign after suffering a torn ACL during spring ball.
Most people, including myself, would be dejected and hopeless after suffering a potentially career-ending injury. How could someone be positive after missing their senior season and watching their draft stock drop rapidly? Bolden showed us how.
As the leader of the Sun Devil defense, his loss was devastating. Bolden was expected to be a shut down corner, practically taking away half the field every snap. His combination of speed and strength are a rarity at the cornerback position.
The Devils knew Bolden was the real deal when he bursted onto the scene as a freshman in 2007, earning first-team Freshman All-American honors. During his junior campaign, Bolden had three interceptions and 37 tackles and earned a first-team spot on the All-Pac-10 team.
Going into 2011, rumors were swirling that Bolden would be nominated for the Lott Award (Defensive Impact Payer of the Year.) Obviously, those dreams were crushed due to the injury.
On countless Saturday nights, Bolden was a crowd favorite and he truly enjoyed being a Sun Devil, which lead to a big decision for him. Stay in college, or go pro? Bolden could have easily left after his junior season, cashing in on millions of dollars while fulfilling a goal to be in the NFL. Instead, he continued his commitment towards ASU and the pursuit of a Rose Bowl berth.
Beyond the X's and O's, his presence was felt daily, without stepping foot on the gridiron. His leadership and "positive living" motto were a staple of the "Sun Devil Way". Since Bolden maintained an upbeat attitude in spite of his situation, it was nearly impossible to find a reason to complain.
Bolden will always be known for his capability to take away opponents best targets. Yet many do not realize that Bolden is just as valuable behind closed doors, in the locker room. His ability to motivate fellow teammates and make sure everyone gave 100% is an undervalued quality.
Leadership is expected from the quarterback position but every defense needs their own quarterback, somebody that calls the shots. Bolden was exactly that.
Among the many great corners ASU has produced, Bolden ranks as one of the best. Bolden's relentless pursuit of excellence and hard work translate into a bright future, as he is now member of the Denver Broncos after being selected in the fourth round of the 2012 NFL Draft.
See the previous entries on House of Sparky's 100 day countdown here