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January 8, 2011Omar Bolden wanted to have a little more fun on his desert island.
The Arizona State cornerback announced at a school press conference Friday he will return for his fifth year in Tempe instead of opting for early NFL Draft status.
"There were mornings where I'd wake up at 6 o'clock in the morning and my stomach is really in knots because it's a huge decision to make," Bolden said. "The game is still fun but some of the fun is taken away from the game when you move to the next level. It becomes a business. I felt that I was ready to make that move but there was something in me that said everything isn't done yet that you had to do so I felt it was best for me to come back and do that."
With a perennial flair for the dramatic, Bolden -- who goes by @Os_Island on twitter -- began the press conference with a deadpan joke about former Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh's departure to coach the San Francisco 49ers and followed with a play on Miami Heat star LeBron James' infamous "taking my talents to South Beach" television announcement.
"This decision is probably one of the hardest decisions I've ever had to make thus far in my life," Bolden said. "Me and my family have talked about it in great depth, weighing out the pros and cons of leaving school early in the 2011 Draft. With that said I've decided to take my talents to the next level. When I say next level I mean I'm going to take my talents to the next level here at this program and bring that Pac-12 championship back to Tempe and set it off right for the 2011 season."
Projected to be taken between in the middle rounds of the NFL Draft, Bolden -- one of just four unanimous All-Pac-10 selections last season -- decided the Sun Devils' promising prospects for the 2011 season were too much to pass up when taking everything else into consideration.
"Obviously I know we have a lot of guys back, a lot of guys returning," Bolden said. "It had a lot to do with it. These are guys I came in with and I've built special relationships with certain guys on this team and not only are they teammates of mine, I see these guys as family and I wanted to finish that with them. I feel like I started something here and I wanted to finish it with my guys. I feel like we can be very special this upcoming season. The opportunities are there and all we've got to do is be accountable to each other and we can really make something happen here in Tempe."
Bolden took time to thank his coaches, ASU fans and the school's academic support staff for their help in his college career and said he's looking forward to playing next season as a college graduate.
As a junior, Bolden had 52 tackles, three of which were for loss, seven pass breakups, one forced fumble and a team-leading three interceptions. He also returned 11 kicks for 321 yards and was selected second-team all-league in that capacity.