Bolden will never have to hear from another one of those college recruiting Web sites, the ones that employ grown men who make their living harassing teens about their futures (although Bolden stopped taking their calls a month ago when they began contacting him daily). “People put way too much on this,” said Bolden’s coach, Anthony Rice – himself once a top-flight recruit. “You’re telling 17-year-olds that they have to commit to you, and if you de-commit, we’re going to be upset. “It’s like buying a car. You can walk in the showroom and say, `I’d like to buy this car.’ But until you put something down on paper, it doesn’t matter.” Recruiters say whatever they can to convince prospects or cajole them into giving more consideration to their respective schools. “The kid is not going to say no in your face after you say all these nice things about them,” Rice said. “Then they commit to someone else, and you say no one can trust their word. “But how many of these scouts’ words can be trusted? How many of these coaches’ words can be trusted?” When the process began, schools such as UTEP, USC, Washington, Utah and UNLV were those most heavily recruiting Bolden, who was struggling academically at the time. Once his grades came up (a 3.0 on the most recent transcript), schools like Oregon State and Arizona State jumped in and the chances Bolden would end up at a lower-profile school lessened. His 4.3 speed and exceptional athleticism earned attention from around the country. “This dude is a different case,” Rice said. “He busted his butt (academically) in order to even earn a scholarship. He’s doing the work, and just look at the stats – he’s so explosive, and that speed is hard to find.” Bolden said he eliminated Washington in January after a transcript snafu. He faxed his grades to the Huskies, only to have the school tell Bolden it couldn’t make him a scholarship offer yet because the fax was never received. But later, when talking to Bolden’s academic advisor, UW team officials quoted from the transcript – meaning they had gotten it after all. Bolden was hurt and felt like Washington lied to him, and ended up not taking a planned official visit to the school. The places he did visit – UTEP, Washington State, Arizona State, Oregon State and USC – were interesting enough. Bolden said he was impressed by ASU’s facilities, especially its world-class weight room, and enjoyed hanging out with USC running back Chauncey Washington. He also enjoyed the food. “They feed you, man do they feed you,” he said. “I got my three meals a day, and I never get my three a day.” Taking all of his allotted visits was partially based on Rice’s advice. The former Washington State player only took one visit when he was a senior, and ended up leaving WSU after one season. “I screwed myself,” he said. “I didn’t give the other colleges an opportunity, and I didn’t have anything to compare it to.” But that was the only advice Rice was willing to impart on Bolden. “I don’t influence the kids, because I don’t want the kid to come back in three or four years and say, `Hey, why’d you tell me to go here?”‘ Rice said. “I don’t get involved. I told Omar, `It’s ultimately your decision. You’ve got to man up. Take all your visits and do your research.”‘ Today, the entire exhausting process ends. Bolden will look into the camera, smile … and breathe. The relentless process leading up to today’s National Signing Day has worn him down, stressed him out and left him deciding between two schools: USC and Arizona State. Bolden, the CIF Central Division player of the year, will make his decision public at 5:30 p.m. today on FSN West’s “High School Spotlight” – although his mind was privately made up as early as Monday. On a scale of one to 10, with 10 being the highest, Bolden said his stress level during the recruiting process was a “10, without a doubt.” “I can’t wait till (today),” he said earlier in the week. “I’ve even been getting calls in class. Maybe these coaches don’t think I’m in school or something, I don’t know.” By tonight, all the pressure on Bolden should be lifted. Perhaps then can he start turning his cell phone on again full-time, stop screening every call and make it through a school day without an incessant buzzing in his pocket. It was still cool, as Omar Bolden put it, back when the Colony High School senior and his football team were in the middle of a CIF championship run. At the time, Bolden was only getting one college recruiting call a week, along with text messages on his cell phone here and there. It was refreshing, and even somewhat flattering. Then the season ended, and the avalanche of attention came crashing down. By the time the new year arrived, Bolden started getting multiple calls a day from recruiters and receives texts every hour. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!