Introducing the 2004 Class: Dewayne Hollyfield

By virtue of their school's reputation and size, some recruits enjoy more exposure than others. Los Angeles Harbor's defensive lineman Dewayne Hollyfield knows this all too well, and was ready to accept the reality of playing far from home at a smaller school than he envisioned. Nevertheless, he told DevilsDigest that when Arizona State came calling he realized that all it takes is one major school to notice you and help you realize your dream of playing in the Pac-10.

"We get some schools that recruit here," said Dewayne Hollyfield of his community college, "but never the big names. It's easier to make a name for yourself when you play for a big community college. Our school (located in Wilmington, Cailf.) is at the end of the freeway next to an oil refinery (smile). Sometimes it's just politics – the more you put your name out there, they more people know about you. But it's also all about performing on the field. If you're good, you make your own statement, and the school will notice you."

The Sun Devils naturally did notice the lineman and targeted him fairly early in the recruiting process. "ASU first contacted me in April after my freshman year," recalled Hollyfield. "I was talking with the University of Washington for a while, and then I didn't hear from them. I was sure I was going to a school on the east coast. To tell you the truth, I was real happy that Arizona State called, because I knew there was a chance I could stay close to home and play in the Pac-10." Hollyfield mentioned Rutgers, Hawaii, Oregon, Louisiana-Lafayette and North Carolina as other schools he was considering.

Hollyfield, who was born in the Los Angeles area town of Torrance, saw similarities between his hometown and his new home in Tempe. "Flying in and seeing the stadium from above was nice," he said about his official visit. "When I got off the plane, everything was so nice; I felt I was on vacation (smile). It looked like Santa Monica, and reminded me of home." During a previous DevilsDigest interview following his official ASU visit, Hollyfield exclaimed: "Once I got there, I said ‘this is it!' I was amazed. I was speechless (smile). I was ready to commit the minute I got there." Sure enough, the Street & Smith's preseason all-America verbaled to the Sun Devils at the end of his trip.

For the first half of his freshman year, the ASU junior to-be was a starter at tight end. He quickly felt that his talents weren't being utilized in that role. "I was doing well the first five games," he stated. "But the quarterback wasn't throwing me the ball (smile). I was doing everything right in practice, and I know I wasn't slow. So, I knew I had to switch positions to get some stats so I can get recruited out of community college. During our bye week I switched to defensive end, and I averaged about two sacks a game until the end of the season." During his career at Los Angeles Harbor Hollyfield went on to collect 75 tackles, 11 quarterback sacks and 11 tackles for loss. Furthermore, he earned all-region honors following his sophomore year.

Standing at 6-4 275, Hollyfield is suited to play either defensive end or tackle. While he did state his preference, he ultimately wants to play the role that would grant him as much playing time as possible and fill in an area of need. "I rather play end," he explained. "But I'll play whatever position that can get me on the field. They just want the best four defensive linemen out there. ASU made me feel like I was an asset to the team because they need defensive linemen. I knew that coming here was a good opportunity to play early. Arizona State is a big time school, and when they say that they need you to help out, you feel honored because it's a great opportunity."

His Harbor Head Coach Steve Schmitz, who was a graduate assistant coach for Frank Kush at ASU, was quoted describing Hollyfield as an athletic freak who made a successful transition from tight end to defensive end. Does Hollyfield credit his skills to his god-given talents or his dedication in practice? "It's both," he commented. "It's a lot of hard work, but I was also blessed with ability. I want hit the weights and get stronger and faster. I also want to get my technique down – that's how you make the big plays."

The former Los Angeles Harbor standout plans to come to Tempe at the end of July. "I'm on track to get my AA degree in June," he said. "I have three more classes that I need to take. I should be fine." While his achievements in the classroom are entirely in his control, he acknowledges that his role as a starter is in the hands of his ASU coaches. "I coming to ASU to play hard," he said. "I'm gonna let my game speak for itself, and let the coaches decide when I should play. It would be nice to start, but that's up to the coaches. If they feel that I'm ready then I'll play. I'm gonna make sure I'm prepared."

Coming from a small school, Hollyfield does realize the difficulty of the task on hand, but will not let the situation create potentially damaging anxiety. "I think I do have something to prove," he said, "and put up the same numbers that I put up at junior college. It's not a lot of pressure on me, I just have to take care of buisness." Regardless of the fact that he is coming from a relatively small and unknown program, the lineman said that his dreams were always larger. "I knew I was the kind of player that needed more than they (Lafayette and Rutgers) had to offer," he explained. "I felt that there was always a bigger program out there for me. I'm happy that ASU came along." If a mutual positive feeling does exist at the end of the 2004 season, then the Sun Devils can rightfully pat themselves on the shoulder and congratulate themselves for finding a gem of a player that was overlooked by others.

Recruit Profile

Name

Dewayne Hollyfield

Junior College

Los Angeles Harbor Community College

Position

DL

Height

6-4

Weight

275

Date of Birth

11/28/83

Birthplace

Bellflower, Calif.

Nickname

"The Real Deal - just like the boxer Evander Hollyfield (smile)."

Favorite TV Show

"Chappell's Show."

Favorite Movie

"Friday."

Favorite Singer/Band

"50 Cent and Dr. Dre."

Favorite Food

"Chicken."

Favorite Drink

""Gatorade."

Favorite Athlete

"Simeon Rice."

Favorite Pro Team

"Philadelphia Eagles."

Person you most admire

"My father. He did a great job raising me. I really try to resemble him and do my best to make him proud."

First Football Memory

"When we won the Beach Bowl in 2002. We beat Mt. San Jacinto College. "

One Thing most people don't know about me

"I can drive an 18-wheeler truck (smile)."

Why did you choose ASU?

"It's a real nice campus, and people care about you on and off the field."

Where do you want to be in ten years?

"Still playing in the NFL. If that doesn't work out, I would like to own a business."

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