Jacksonville, Fla.--A frequent visitor to Auburn in the spring and summer, four-star linebacker Jeff Holland took his official visit over the weekend to check out Coach Gus Malzahn and the Tigers. Seeing the team in top form with a 41-7 victory over LSU, Holland said he enjoyed seeing things once again and also rubbing elbows with Auburn royalty.
“It was great,” Holland said. “I had a good time down there. I got to meet a lot of new people. I got to meet Bo Jackson and got to talk to him. I got to talk to old coach Pat Dye. He told me how he built the program. I just got to meet a lot of people.”
Somebody else Holland had an opportunity to meet and get to know was former Auburn and NBA star Charles Barkley. A teammate of his uncle Kerry Holland while on the Plains, Barkley had plenty of stories to tell about their time together.
“It was real cool,” Holland said. “They just talked about the times they had down at Auburn when they played together. He said they battled in practice all the time.”
“I don’t really have a front leader right now,” Holland said. “I have to take my official to UCLA. That’s one of my other top schools right now. It’s those three and they are all even.”
A big reason that Auburn continues to be so high on Holland’s list is the relationship he has with Malzahn and the coaching staff, including defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson. He said another reason is the improved play of the defense this fall that was on display in the win over LSU.
“Oh my gosh, it’s great,” Holland said of Auburn’s defense. “They played light’s out. They gave up one big play, but it was pretty light’s out.
“I feel like I fit in their pass rush scheme,” he added. “I can come off the play an off-backer. I think I fit in pretty good.”
Saying he may wait to make his decision until January in the Under Armour All-American Game, Holland plans to visit UCLA for their annual rival game against USC. While he also admits growing up a fan of Florida, he said Auburn will be in the hunt until the end because of his fondness for the coaching staff and players.