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Why an NCAA change helped Florida State’s Isaiah Bolden move to receiver

The Wesley Chapel High alumnus has already impressed coach Mike Norvell at the new position.
Wesley Chapel High alumnus Isaiah Bolden started his FSU career at defensive back but is moving to receiver.
Wesley Chapel High alumnus Isaiah Bolden started his FSU career at defensive back but is moving to receiver. [ Tampa Bay Times ]
Published Aug. 26, 2020

Florida State’s Isaiah Bolden is moving from defensive back to receiver, Seminoles coach Mike Norvell said Wednesday, thanks in part to a recent NCAA eligibility change.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic and COVID-19′s uncertainty, the NCAA is giving all fall athletes an extra year of eligibility. That, Norvell said, is allowing coaches to consider different developmental moves that might help in the long run. Like switching positions.

Bolden was a four-star prospect out of Wesley Chapel High and the nation’s No. 25 cornerback in the 2018 recruiting class. He played in every game as a redshirt freshman, earned his first start in the Sun Bowl and finished with nine tackles, two pass breakups and an interception.

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But FSU’s secondary is talented, and the Seminoles figured Bolden’s 6-foot-2 frame and the ball skills he has shown as a returner could help him at receiver … even though that wasn’t even his primary offensive position in high school (he was listed as a quarterback).

To be clear, Norvell would not have asked Bolden to consider switching if he didn’t think Bolden could make an impact at his new position this year.

“But knowing that this year’s not necessarily going to count due to eligibility, it provides a lot of opportunities to the development as well for some of these guys,” Norvell said. “It’s something long term you also get to think about.”

Norvell said Bolden didn’t mind changing roles, if that’s what would help the team the most. The early returns have been positive; Bolden made a “really big play” during Wednesday morning’s practice, Norvell said.

“After three days,” Norvell said, “I like what I see.”