For the University of Michigan, Charlotte (NC) Independence defensive back Devonte Holloman made his way to campus just in time. Prior to his Friday visit to Ann Arbor, Scout.com’s #2 safety had begun to openly question where the Wolverines fit into his recruitment. However, in the aftermath his trip he is very clear on where things stand with the Maize & Blue.
“I was kind of getting upset because Coach Gibson had gave me a verbal offer, but I hadn’t heard from them for a while,” Holloman explained. “I was kind of like, ‘maybe they aren’t as interested as he said.’ I was happy that it didn’t turn out that way and he was very interested. The visit was pretty good. I talked almost all of the (defensive ) coaches and Coach Rodriguez to get a feeling for how they are. The strength coach (Mike Barwis) is an exciting guy. That guy had me ready to work out! He is hyper 24/7 from what I hear. I got to see a glimpse of it for myself. I got on YouTube and saw a pregame speech he gave. I got to see the campus, the football facilities, and the academic building. Overall it went very well.”
One of Rich Rodriguez’s major priorities appeared to be informing Holloman of what an integral part of the Michigan defense he could be early in his career if he came in ready to go.
“He didn’t tell me that I was going to come in and automatically start, but he did tell me I was in competition to play right away,” said Holloman. “I wasn’t expecting him to say ‘when you come in, you’re going to be the guy.’ I just appreciate the opportunity to come in there and play early. I like the way that they play. He likes to play fast and physical… and I like that style of football. The kind of defense that they run puts me in position to make plays. All of that kind of factors in to what I like about the coaches and the way that they coach.”
Michigan’s standing has also been aided by the fact that he was already somewhat familiar with the program prior to taking the trip. That’s thanks to a former player and to one of his current coaches.
“I had heard of a guy that went there that is from Charlotte named Jamar Adams,” Holloman said, explaining his previous knowledge of the Maize & Blue. “I watched him play. Plus my defensive backs coach Josh Kranish came up there with me and his grandparents went to Michigan. He was in awe of seeing the campus up close. He liked it. He feels like it would be a good place for me, that I would fit in well with the style that they play, and that I would probably be successful there.”
That Holloman is seriously entertaining the notion of being successful someplace other than Clemson may be a bit surprising to some. The Tigers have been widely regarded as the prohibitive favorites by recruiting observers, but the youngster indicated that such speculation is premature.
“Clemson is a school that I’m pretty high on, but they’re not THE team right now,” Holloman reported. “Nobody is. I’m not close to making a decision right now. It’s just a place that my family has seen and that I fell in love with, but this past weekend I fell in love with Michigan. It’s a toss up between those two right now until I go to some more schools like Tennessee and LSU.”
Michigan’s strong move up the charts is also a clear reflection that distance is not an overwhelming factor in Holloman’s decision making process. That said, it is something that could play at least a minor role before all is said and done.
“It was a10 hour trip, but it wasn’t bad,” Holloman recalled. “It was kind of a fun drive. My mom told me today that she was going to pop up no matter far how far away from home I went, so it’s not really a factor. It’s 10 hour trip so they’d make the drive every Friday, get in by the next morning, and then go home that night. It’s not that far away. Distance is not really a big factor for any school.”
“I will really look at academics,” Holloman continued, explaining his decision criteria. “Most school have good academics, but I want a place that I would feel comfortable going to school even I wasn’t playing football. If something did happen, what would be the best scenario for me? After academics would be coaching. There are a lot of good coaches out there, but I want to get better while I there so hopefully I can hopefully get prepared for the next level. And location is a little factor. I would like my parents to come to the games. But it’s not going to be me saying I can’t go here or I can’t go there because of (location). It’s just in my consideration, one of the things I’d like is if my parents were able to come to my games.”
Holloman plans to start cutting his list down this summer after a few more visits. From there he will sort through his list of finalists fairly quickly, and with good reason
“I’m planning on graduating early, so I’m probably going
to have to speed it up a little bit,” he reported. “I’m probably
going to decide in the first five weeks of the season.”