Top Juco recruit looking for a home

When Louis Holmes started garnering massive recruiting attention this past summer he didn't know what to think. He knew he would get some attention for his exploits as a defensive end for Scottsdale Community College, but he just did not expect it to reach these heights.

"At first it was just a few schools," said the 6-foot-7 inch, 270-pound Holmes. "Then kind of out of nowhere I started getting offers from everybody. USC, Arizona, Arizona State, Oklahoma, Tennessee, LSU, I mean, I expected to get offers but I didn't expect all of this."

Holmes, who graduated from Dillard High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, took an unusual route to get to where he is. During his senior year, his first and only year in Florida (he moved from Tennessee for his senior season) he signed with Ohio State but failed to qualify and was told that he could go to a Prep School for a year to get his academics in order.

So Holmes found a school, and went all the way to Maine. Yes, Maine. North Bridgton, to be exact.

After spending a year at the northeast prep school, Holmes made his way to Arizona to meet with a personal trainer, a friend of a friend, in Scottsdale. Two days in Arizona were enough to convince him that he wanted to stay so it was time to find a new school, this time a junior college in the area.

"After I came here I loved it, I love the west coast," remarked Holmes. "When I decided to stay I looked at a couple of local schools and Scottsdale just stuck out to me. I met with coach (and UA alum Ken) Giovando and that was it."

Now playing his second season at Scottsdale, Holmes is again looking for a new home. With offers from so many major colleges he has a very hard decision ahead of him. Does he go back down south to play football where he grew up or does he stay out west and play where he loves it so much?

"Man, I just don't know what I am going to do," said Holmes. "I mean, all these coaches tell you different things and tell you about their programs and everything, but I don't really care about a lot of that stuff. I want to go some place that I am needed, wanted and somewhere that can help me achieve my goals."

The main goal that Holmes wants to attain is what most football players his age want.

"I want to play in the NFL," he said. "Who wouldn't want to play pro football? Getting paid to play football is the ultimate dream. That is what I want most right now and that is one of the main things I will look for when I choose whatever school I do. I want to play for a program and for coaches that will help me realize my dream of getting to the NFL."

So here he is, four games into his final season at Scottsdale and he holds no less than 40 major Division I offers to play football. Offers from nine Pac-10 schools, every Big XII school, seven Southeastern Conference schools and a slew of others in hand and one big decision to make. So far the hardest thing for Holmes to do has been to narrow his list of schools to just five, which is the maximum number that he can visit officially.

"I am going to visit USC and LSU for sure," Holmes said. "I know that I will probably want to visit Tennessee and maybe Oklahoma too. Maybe I will visit Arizona, but I have been there so many times that I might not need to visit there officially."

Since last fall Holmes has made the trek down Interstate-10 a whopping 10 times to visit friends on campus in Tucson. He has formed a bond with current UA senior basketball player Hassan Adams as well as numerous football players like senior linebacker Randy Sims.

"I played against Jesus Verdejo in basketball in high school," said Holmes. "I went down and saw him and he introduced me to Hassan and now when I go down there we all hang out and everything. I usually at least talk to the coaches when I am down there. I usually talk to coach (Tim) Kish (Holmes' lead recruiter). I like it down in Tucson a lot, we hang out and go to pool parties and just have fun, and it is a good place to be."

In the end, the Wildcats have "as good a shot as anyone," according to Louis. And who knows, after going from Memphis to Fort Lauderdale to North Bridgton to Scottsdale in a course of just three years, maybe it is time for Louis to call Arizona home. Moving from Scottsdale to Tucson would be the easiest move he has ever made.

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