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Report: Rob Bolden’s search for stability leads to Eastern Michigan

The college career of Rob Bolden has not exactly gone to plan, but he will have a chance to wrap things up as a starting quarterback after a long and winding road leading from State College to Baton Rouge and now back to his home-state of Michigan. Bolden has reportedly transferred to Eastern Michigan, giving him a chance to win a starting job at quarterback.

The former Nittany Lion will have one final year of eligibility to use in 2014. Assuming he received or will receive his degree from LSU, he will be eligible to play right away at Eastern Michigan this fall. Bolden was a four-star quarterback recruit in Penn State’s Class of 2010. Rivals ranked Bolden the number two dual-threat quarterback in the nation at the time. Bolden fell shy of clearing the bar for expectations placed on him at Penn State and a fresh start at LSU did not pan out. This could be a good situation for Bolden at this point. The bar is extremely low for Eastern Michigan and the level of competition throughout the MAC is not quite on the level with the Big Ten or SEC. Eastern Michigan is also within an hour drive of his hometown so perhaps a return closer to home is just what he needs for his final season.

Rob+Bolden+Purdue+v+Penn+State+i7XqzV85Z-_lBolden was named the starting quarterback for Penn State’s season opener in 2010, becoming the first true freshman to be named the starting quarterback for a season opener under Joe Paterno. The 2010 season eventually saw Bolden lose the starting job due to injury, a head injury suffered on the road against Minnesota. In stepped Matt McGloin for the remainder of the season. McGloin managed the offense to pull away form the Gophers and then led Penn State to a wild home win under the lights against Michigan the following week. Bolden returned to the field the following week to start against Northwestern and completed three of four pass attempts before taking a big hit as Northwestern built a 21-0 lead in Beaver Stadium in the first half. McGloin again stepped in and led a furious rally with three second-half touchdown passes in a 35-21 victory. From that point on, McGloin was Penn State’s quarterback until Bolden again was given a chance to win the starting job at the start of the 2011 season.

The back-and-forth between quarterbacks continued for weeks. It really was not until defensive coordinator Tom Bradley was named interim head coach that McGloin was cemented as the full-time quarterback for Penn State. The popular thought was Bolden was Jay Paterno’s prized possession and his father was reluctant to make the change despite growing evidence to suggest McGloin was the better overall option. The quarterback debate was raging among the fans between McGloin and Bolden, and I personally found myself switching sides along the way. I always wanted to believe the potential in Bolden was more than what McGloin had to offer, but the results spoke for itself over time.

Once the NCAA slammed Penn State with sanctions in the fallout from the release of the Freeh Report in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal, Bolden took advantage of the option for a free transfer. Bolden ended up at LSU, but he never saw the field with the Tigers as he sat out one year with a redshirt and was buried on the depth chart the other. Looking for playing time, Bolden was moved to wide receiver at LSU this spring. It was an experiment to say the least, and considering the shrinking depth at quarterback at LSU this offseason, news of another transfer certainly caught my eye.

How do you think Bolden’s final year will play out?

Photo: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images