Utah’s Garett Bolles overcame a troubled youth to become a husband, father and legitimate NFL prospect.
Utah’s Garett Bolles, a hulking 6’5”, 300-pound 24-year-old from Lehi, Utah, has come a long way from a troubled youth that came closes to destroying him.
Bolles, a hulking 6’5”, 300-pound young man with dirty blond hair and a baritone voice that drips with confidence, had a rocky start to his young life, as detailed by Kyle Good of The Salt Lake Tribune.
He was suspended or kicked out of five schools as a teenager for disruptive behavior. He engaged in reckless behavior including drugs and vandalizing property. He didn’t bother to take his studies seriously.
His problems grew so bad that his own father turned his back on him, tossing him out into the street in 2011.
During his troubled youth, Bolles had no idea where he was going. Thanks to the loving support and structure by his lacrosse coach, Greg Freeman and his wife Emily, Bolles was able to define his goals, playing in the NFL, among his biggest goals, lying within his reach.
“When the Freeman family came a picked me off the street, they became my family,” Bolles said Thursday at the combine. “I love them dearly; they changed my life forever, and I’m the man I am today because of them.
“I don’t even know who that old Garett is,” he added. “I know the new Garett. I know exactly what I want to do, and I’m just grateful to be here. It’s a great experience and I’m really looking forward to living my dreams someday and playing in the National Football League.”
As part of his turnaround into a responsible young adult, Bolles served a mission out in Colorado. That experience, he said, further taught him about responsibility and sticking to a schedule that necessitated him waking every morning at 6:30 a.m., going to bed every night at 10 p.m. and spending the hours in between following what he described as a “strict routine” that involved helping people in need who were ready to receive religion into their lives.
“I know what it takes to hard work and wake up and follow a schedule, and that’s exactly what you’ve to do in this business,” Bolles said of the NFL. “You’ve got to follow the schedule to be successful, and that’s what I plan on doing.”
Now that he’s at the NFL combine getting a chance to live out what he called a dream, Bolles has been adamant in his interviews with NFL teams, including the New York Giants, that the old, troubled Bolles has been replaced by a devoted husband and father determined to provide for his wife, Natalie, whom he married last year, and their son Kingston, who arrived in January.
Bolles certainly doesn’t lack in the confidence department. He believes he can be an NFL left tackle despite his limited college experience.
“I think that’s a positive thing for me, because that’s just less wear and tear on my body,” he said. “I’ve never been cut open, I’ve never had a surgery, I’ve never had a major injury. You’ve got to knock on wood because football is rough game. But I’m here to compete, I’m here to do whatever it takes to win and I’m just … one year or three years makes no difference. I have so much upside.”
That upside, he believes, should enable him to fit in anywhere.
“I know I can fit in anywhere. There’s no typical offense that I feel like I can best fit in there. I believe I can do whatever it takes. If it’s power schemes, if it’s outside zone, inside zone–it doesn’t really matter to me. I just know I’m capable of doing what it takes,” he said.
“I know I have what it takes to be a franchise tackle in this league. I believe that I know where I’m going and what I need to do to work on to get there. I’ve worked with some great people like Joe Staley, the left tackle for the 49ers, Pat Morris was the coach, Joe Toledo and Pat Harlow–Jackie Slater, he’s another vet that’s played in the league a long time. I continue to look to those people that have played it and have been there.”
When it comes to football, Bolles becomes a different person, much like the fictitious Bruce Banner’s transofmration into the Incredible Hulk.
“When I’m on the field, I want to put people in the dirt,” he said with a slight snarl to his voice. “That’s what I’m here for. As an offensive lineman, you want to be the nasty [guy] that you can be.”
While Bolles, who played just one season of FBS football after transferring from Snow College, has dreams of playing in front of thousands of NFL patrons, he knows he’s far from being a finished product.
He revealed that he’s dealing with a strained pectoral muscle that prevented him from doing the bench press, but added that he expected to be ready for that drill during his school’s pro day on March 23.
He’d also like to work on improving his pass blocking.
“That’s something I need to work on, and I’m willing to work on that,” he said. “I know the teams that work with me, that’s something I need to work on. Going from college to this level, you’ve got to pick a stance and you’ve got to keep your shoulder square because you’re going against the best pass rushers in the country.
“I plan on just doing whatever it takes — getting with the vets early when I get to my organization and just increase watching film and learning from my mistakes, and just being the best player that I can be.”