2023 Football

NFL Draft: Isaiah Bolden carrying “chip on shoulder” for all HBCUs

Isaiah Bolden enters the New England Patriots locker room on a mission to prove that both he and HBCU football deserve their shot in the NFL.

The sports media universe is still talking about the lack of HBCU football players selected in the 2023 NFL Draft. Isaiah Bolden was selected by the New England Patriots with pick 245 in the draft’s seventh and final round. The cornerback from Tampa, Florida was the only HBCU player to be selected. As the news of Bolden being the only HBCU player to be drafted began to generate reactions from social media. Bolden sent out a tweet that simply said, “Don’t feel sorry for me, my story has just begun.”

Bolden was interviewed by the New England Patriots media team shortly after his selection to talk about his feelings on being picked and his preparation for his Patriots debut. In his opening statement, Bolden told reporters he was ecstatic and ready to get to work.

“This is something I’ve been dreaming about for my whole life. I can’t even explain what’s going through my mind right now.”

As the conversation continued reporters discussed Bolden’s pre-draft visit to the Patriots. Back in April, the JSU star was one of 30 draft prospects to visit Gillette Stadium. During the visit, Bolden had the opportunity to display his versatility and speed.

Bolden has proven to be a great asset on special teams. In 2021 with Jackson State, he led both FBS and FCS in kickoff return average at 36.9 yards per attempt. Bolden says playing the position in college provided him with game tape to show off what he can bring to the Patriots on special teams.

HBCU NFL Isaiah Bolden New England Patriots

Isaiah Bolden transferred to Jackson State from Florida State after playing in 13 games for the Seminoles during the 2019 season. In his interview, Bolden said he learned how to be a pro under the coaching of Deion Sanders.

“It was big time. Learning from the greatest of all time was a blessing and I feel like he’s developed me for this moment.”

Of course one of the biggest questions during the press conference centered around Bolden being the only HBCU draft pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. In his response, the cornerback expressed how much it meant for him and the HBCU community as a whole.

“It means a lot to me, having that chip on my shoulder, carrying the weight of the HBCUs,” says Bolden “I got something to prove. There’s a lot of talented guys out there and I gotta carry that chip on my shoulder for all HBCUs.”

NFL Draft: Isaiah Bolden carrying “chip on shoulder” for all HBCUs
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