The Baker Orange

BU alumnus catches for Johnny Football

Story by Lauren Bechard

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Former Heisman trophy winner Johnny Manziel shocked sports fans when he came out for his pro day workout wearing shoulder pads and a helmet, with a song by Drake blasting in the background.

NFL head coaches, general managers and various scouts attended Manziel’s pro day on March 27. A former U.S. president, George H.W. Bush, was even on the Texas A&M campus at College Station watching. On top of it all, one of Baker University’s very own got to be a key part of the action.

“We came into it knowing we were going to make history,” Kyle Bolton, BU alumnus and one of six receivers who caught for Manziel on his pro day, said. “We wanted to make (the pro day) different and stand out. It was a great experience overall and something that I’m blessed to be a part of.”

Bolton spent four years in black and orange as a wide receiver for the BU Wildcats. Upon graduating in May 2013, he’s been chasing his dream to play in the NFL.

That’s just what the 5-foot, 10-inch speedster was doing two weeks before Manziel’s pro day when he met the quarterback at a workout in San Diego.

After seeing how quick Bolton is, Manziel knew he wanted that speed on the turf for his pro day workout.

“Johnny just told me straight up, ‘I just want you to run. I want to show everybody your speed and I want to hit you down field,’ “ Bolton said.

When he found out he would be participating at the pro day, Bolton shared the news with his buddies, including his former teammate and Baker alumnus Joel Murphy.

Murphy was able to watch the event, which was broadcast live on ESPN and the NFL Network.

“Since I’m one of his good friends, I could tell he was nervous on first throw,” Murphy said. “I got super nervous, too, but he caught it and I saw him smile and I knew he was good from there.”

Bolton admits he was nervous for the first route.

“All eyes are on you, everybody watches where the ball goes,” he said. “But Johnny was in the rhythm. We had gone through it so many times. It was second nature to us.”

Bolton recalls a sideline catch he was particularly proud of during the workout.

In fact, USA Today called it “one of the prettiest catches of the day.”

And it happened right in front of Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly, who made a comment on the receiver’s speed.

“I didn’t know it was Chip Kelly when I caught the ball,” Bolton said. “I thought it was just another media guy, so I said thank you and then ran back down field. After the workout, I had reporters come ask me what Chip Kelly said to me. I honestly didn’t know it was him, but I was ecstatic when I found out.”

Bolton hopes the attention he received for working out with Manziel will land him a spot in camp with a pro team.

“From what I’ve heard, I’ve spiked a lot of interest,” Bolton said. “I shocked a lot of people with my speed today, so I’m pretty excited.“

Though Manziel was the star of the show, he was appreciative of the work his receivers put in on the field to make his pro day a success.

“I’ve got to give credit to the six guys that went out there and ran their hearts out for me and went out for some balls and really helped me out,” Manziel said in a press conference after the workout. “I had a blast doing it. I think each of us did.”

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