Auburn, Ala.--If Josh Holsey is as good as new, or anything close to his previous self as a defensive back, that is something the Auburn Tigers will really need as they open the 2016 football season on Saturday night.
Clemson, led by Heisman Trophy candidate Deshaun Watson, will challenge the Auburn defense, particularly the pass coverage, because the quarterback has a large and talented group of receivers to target.
While not listed as a starter at any particular position, Holsey is expected to see action early and often. He can play both safety spots, both cornerback spots and also can handle the nickel position. New defensive coordinator, Kevin Steele, said that Holsey has shown the coaching staff he deserves to be on the field this fall.
After missing most of the 2015 season with his second major collegiate injury, Holsey makes it clear he is eager to contribute as a fifth-year senior.
“Ever since I first got injured I have kind of looked forward to every game, just making it to the game,” he said.
He broke into the starting lineup as a true freshman cornerback in 2012. He started the first six games of 2013 at safety before his season was cut short by an ACL injury that required surgery. His other knee required an ACL surgery after playing in two games last year.
“You never know when your last game is going to be,”?he pointed out. “I’m really looking forward to this year because I know if I get hurt now I can’t come back again.
“I’m really looking forward to each and every game, but especially this one because it’s a big one,”?Holsey said. “There are a lot of people who are going to be watching so I can really showcase what we’ve been working for and what I?have been working for, to come back even off a second ACL. I?am very eager and I?have been smiling since the time started clicking. I’m ready to play.”
Josh Holsey has 20 collegiate starts for the Tigers.
Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. CDT at Jordan-Hare Stadium as Holsey’s Tigers take on a Clemson team that was 14-1 last year and the ACC champion. This year Clemson is ranked No. 2 in the preseason.
“I watch a lot of film, even outside of meeting with coaches, and when I watch film on my own they are a really good receiving corps,” he said. “They have a lot of depth and a lot of talent at each and every spot. They have a few guys coming back who were injured so they have got a lot of good receivers and a lot of good receiving depth.
“Deshaun makes people better just because he’s Deshaun Watson right now,” the defensive back added. “He’s playing at a very high level of football. They have got a very good offensive staff and offensive corps right now. It will be a good challenge for us in the first game to see how we respond to it.”