Thankfully for fans of Arizona Football, second year head coach Mike Stoops has been very successful using JUCO transfers at both of his assistant jobs. At both Kansas State and Oklahoma, Stoops was instrumental in JUCO recruiting and he has brought his ability to recruit the JUCO ranks to Tucson. Evidence was shown early with the signing of Kilgore, Texas NJCAA All-American defensive tackle Byron Smith, who is now on campus in Tucson and ready to participate in spring drills.
At the conclusion of the 2006 season the Wildcats will lose their top two presumed starting defensive ends when Marcus Smith and Copeland Bryan both exhaust their eligibility. The Arizona coaches will look to fill at least one of those vacancies through the JUCO ranks and the top prospect on their board is undoubtedly Scottsdale Community College defensive end Louis Holmes.
"After I signed with Ohio State I did not get in so I went to the prep school up in Maine for a year," said the 6-foot-6 inch, 270 pound Holmes. "After that I was supposed to go to Dodge City in Kansas but I came down to Arizona to work with a trainer and I just decided to stay here and go to Scottsdale. I like it in Arizona and I like the coaching staff at Scottsdale."
So far, even though it is very early in the recruiting process, Holmes' stock is on fire as he has garnered seven offers from high profile programs already and is receiving interest from a lot more.
"Right now I have offers from U of A, ASU, Louisville, Auburn, Oregon, Utah and Michigan State," commented Holmes. "My coach said that new schools are sending me stuff all the time and I guess I have mail from about 30 other schools already with more coming in almost daily."
Holmes, who will graduate from Scottsdale in December with two years to play two, says that one school does standout so far but that he is still pretty open.
"I would say that U of A is my favorite right now," he said. "I am still open and I want to take my trips but I have been down to Tucson a few times and I really like it a lot down there. I went down for one of the football games last year, I think the Utah game, and I went down for a basketball game also. I am planning on going down to watch some of the spring practices too, in fact I have to call coach (Tim) Kish and see when they are practicing."
According to Holmes, one of the reasons he likes U of A a lot is because of the coaching staff that is in place in Tucson.
"Yeah, I really like the coaching staff a lot," he said. "They remind me a lot of my coaches here at Scottsdale. They are young and energetic and they are going to build Arizona into something special. I talk to coach Kish about once a week and when I went down there I talked some with coach (defensive ends, Joe) Robinson and I like them both. I talk to coach Mike Stoops and he is a good guy and is a good guy to talk to."
When asked what kind of coaching style he likes Holmes replied with something that most coaches love to hear.
"I don't really know if I like a certain style of coaching," said Holmes. "All I am going to do is go in and do what I can to make myself better and to win football games. It is all hard work and if my coach is in my face then he is in my face, either way I am going to get the job done."
In his time at Scottsdale Holmes has played a variety of different positions but will definitely play defensive end at the next level. His numbers prove that he is active, wherever he plays.
"I play mostly end here too but I have been moved around some," said Holmes. "I have played end and I have played some inside and I have lined up at linebacker occasionally. I like end and that is what I will play at the next level. Last year I had, I think, 101 tackles, 15 hurries, 11 sacks and one interception."
Holmes, who wants to major in Business, plans on taking all of his trips during the process and does not know when he will make his decision. Being from the south, Holmes has no reservations about staying out west either.
"I could decide whenever really," he said. "I want to take all of my trips but if I find a place that I really love before that then I will go there. Once I make my decision I will be sure that is it and I will end up there. I like everyone right now but U of A would be a great place to play. I like the Pac-10 a lot and I have no problem staying out west and playing in Arizona or California."
Holmes said that one thing he has been thinking a lot about lately is what kind of school he wants to go to and more importantly, the status of the program currently.
"I know I could go to a place like Ohio State or Auburn or USC and be just another good football player," he quipped. "At a place like U of A or ASU I could go in and help build something and really make a name for myself. That is one of the reasons I really like U of A. I can go in and help rebuild Arizona Football."
Holmes is without a doubt one of the top, if not the top, JUCO prospect for the 2006 recruiting class. No doubt that his high level of interest in U of A and the U of A's obviously high interest in him should make Arizona fans happy. Holmes is definitely one to keep a close eye on this coming year.