BYU offers talented twins

They say two is better than one, and when it comes to the Holder boys – Alijah and Mikah – BYU felt that was truly the case. On Tuesday the two brothers from Oceanside High School in California called up the Cougar coaches and were informed that they were offering them both a scholarship to BYU.

Alijah and Mikah Holder join siblings Kai and Isaiah Nacua as another pair of brothers to be offered scholarships by BYU.

"Yeah, it was really cool getting that scholarship offer from BYU," said Alijah Holder, who plays defensive back and is the older of the two twins. "We called up Coach Nick Howell first and he said that there's some good news for me. I was kind of hoping or thinking there would be an offer, so he told me to talk to Coach Mendenhall. When I talked to him he said he was pretty excited too."

"It was pretty cool," said Mikah, who plays receiver. "We called up Coach Howell and he gave my brother Coach Bronco Mendenhall's number and told us to call him. When we called him up, he ended up offering both of us."

So how do the Holder parents feel about their twins' recent offer from BYU?

"They're really happy about it," said Alijah. "They really like that BYU demands high character and morals and stuff like that. They teach good lessons and values and know that I would be getting a great education if I decide to go there."

The news that Coach Mendenhall wanted to speak with Alijah caused him to pause with curious excitement. He knew that BYU was possibly close to offering his brother Mikah, and that it wasn't long ago that Coach Howell expressed interest in him after seeing him work out one day during practice.

"I was pretty excited about talking to him. He said he wanted to talk to me first because he knew that I played defense and he was a defensive coach," said Alijah with a slight chuckle. "He was just excited for me and my brother's potential to become a Cougar. At first he was talking to me about BYU and their strengths as a college. He talked about the honor code and all the standards and high expectations that BYU demands of you. He also talked about how he liked how big I was and how I moved and was not afraid to hit, so it was a good conversation that I had with him."

"It was pretty cool because we got to know how he is as a person," said Mikah. "He just seems like a cool guy and the kind of coach that we would want to be around. It was great talking to him."

Then Coach Mendenhall told Alijah what he was hoping to hear. Alijah was offered a scholarship to play for BYU.

"When it was happening, I was trying to get my brother's attention because he was standing right next to me," said Alijah. "I was snapping my fingers trying to get his attention. When he finally looked at me, I gave him the thumbs up. I had a big smile on my face."

"When he got the offer I could tell he was pretty excited about it," said Mikah. "I looked over at him and he was kind of like, ‘Yes!' I was like, ‘Are you serious?' It was pretty cool."

Mikah was glad that his brother received the offer from BYU.

"I was really happy for him," said Mikah. "At that time we really didn't know what to expect. BYU had been looking at me for a little while and more recently my brother, so we didn't really know what was going to happen. When Coach Mendenhall offered us, it was just a really neat surprise for us. We were pretty surprised about it.

"I wasn't really sure what they were going to do with him recruiting-wise. They were look at me really, but when BYU came out to watch our practice they saw that my brother was a really good defensive back as well. It helped to have Coach Howell to come out and watch my brother too. It was pretty crazy seeing him get that offer. I was happy for him."

After Alijah got done speaking with Coach Mendenhall, he handed Mikah the phone.

"I was hoping that I would be next," said Mikah with a laugh. "He just offered my brother and they had been talking to me for a while. So, when I got on the phone with him I said, ‘Yeah, that's pretty cool that you offered my brother.' He then hinted to me and said, ‘Yeah, maybe I should offer you too then, huh.' It was pretty funny. I told him, ‘Yeah you should and that would be pretty cool too.' That's when he offered me too. It was pretty cool."

BYU is now one of seven schools to have offered both Alijah and Mikah a scholarship. The other six are Arizona, Nevada, San Diego State, Idaho, San Jose State and Utah State.

What does it mean to the Holder brothers to have been offered by BYU?

"What this offer from BYU means is it's a tribute to us to being not only good players on the field but good character kids off the field," said Mikah. "It means a great deal with how we are perceived by other and how we live our lives. It's just a great feeling to know that we have the chance to play together at a college like BYU or the other colleges that have offered us."

The twins have talked about playing together at the next level, but will both decide what's best for themselves.

"We would like to play together, but us playing together isn't something that will make or break a college," said Mikah. "I think BYU is a great school as they are, and how they finished last year was pretty impressive. Now knowing that they'll take both me and my brother is pretty special. We just don't want to limit each other from any opportunities that might come our way. We don't expect colleges to offer both of us."

"It would be really cool playing with one another, but I don't want to keep him from a scholarship and he doesn't want to keep me from getting a scholarship either," Alijah said. "We both just want to do our best no matter where we go, and if it happens to be the same place, then that's awesome too."

Being independent, BYU plays a national schedule that will feature top college programs such as Texas, Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Boise State, Virginia, Michigan and Arizona, to name a few.

"It's really cool when Coach Mendenhall was talking to me about the type of teams they play," said Alijah. "BYU is independent and their schedule is very impressive this year. Their television contract that they have with ESPN is really cool too. Everyone dreams about playing in front of a big crowd, but to play in front of a big crowd and be on national television where people can see me play around the country is pretty cool too. It's cool to hear stuff like that."

The boys hope to be able to travel up to BYU with the AIGA Foundation, which will visit both Utah and BYU over the summer. In the meantime, the Holder twins had this to say to BYU fans around the world.

"I want to say to BYU fans that if me and my brother end up going to BYU, we'll represent the school and the program well both on and off the field," said Mikah. "We would be excited to be Cougars."

"Go blue! And I might be a Cougar one day," said Alijah. "Look out for the Holder twins, that's for sure."

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