Mizzou Football: Nick Bolton is Living up to Expectations

Nick Bolton was recently named SEC Defensive Player of the Week. Bolton earned this recognition for his stellar play in a win over Kentucky.

This is the second consecutive game where Bolton has earned recognition for his play. The FWAA and the Nagurski Trophy named Nick Bolton National Player of the Week for his play against LSU two weeks ago, and he was rewarded again with SEC defensive player of the week after his performance against Kentucky.

Bolton finished the game against the Wildcats with seven tackles, all solo, and a sack. Normally Bolton racks up more tackles throughout the game, but Mizzou’s offense dominated the time of possession which limited the number of opportunities Bolton had to make plays.

Despite having limited chances, Bolton made his presence felt the entire time he was on the field. Bolton was terrific in stopping the run and his coverage skills were a big reason why Kentucky was only able to muster up 47 yards in the air.

Bolton had one of the best seasons for a Mizzou defensive player ever last year. The breakout year for Bolton earned him accolades such as Pro Football Focus Third-team All-American and First-Team All-SEC.

The recognition Bolton received generated a lot of hype and created expectations for him going into this year. Before the year started, Bolton was on the Butkus Award Watch List and on the Nagurski Trophy Watch List.

Bolton has lived up to these expectations and has surpassed them. After an underwhelming week one performance against Alabama, Bolton has arguably been the best linebacker in the country since.

Four games in the season, Bolton already has 43 total tackles, a sack, and a fumble recovery. Bolton has been the top playmaker for Mizzou’s defense and is a big reason why the Tigers are sitting at 2-2.

Ryan Walters is able to utilize Bolton in many different ways on defense. Bolton is asked to stop the run and on the next play can be asked to guard a receiver or a tight end. The versatility that Bolton displays show why he is one of the nation’s best linebackers.

Vocal leadership has been an area where Bolton has improved. When shown on the sideline Bolton is constantly talking to his teammates or firing the defense up. It is clear that the team respects Bolton and when he speaks, they listen.

Bolton has been on the studs list for three consecutive weeks and has now earned recognition from the conference. If Bolton continues this play there will be a strong chance that he will be an All-American.