The one you didn't see coming

In car terms, a "sleeper" is a vehicle that looks stock, but most definitely isn't. It's one of those cars, that if you are sporting a big block, a hood scoop and some big tires, this is a no-brainer; you can take ‘em. Well, Josh Holmes isn't that much of a sleeper, but his calm off the field demeanor and his size doesn't say instantly that he's THE DT of the future. His offers and play says otherwise.

I have interviewed a lot of guys that for me, their voice and demeanor didn't fit their position. Well, that is if you believe the stereotypes.

And, for defensive tackles, eloquent isn't a word that instantly comes to mind. Josh Holmes could be that prospect that you don't see coming, but at 6 foot, 3 inches tall and 260 pounds, it's not like he's diminutive, but you know how it is nowadays. You think DTs and you think Sapp-like, Demarcus Granger-like, someone thick beyond reason, quick as a cat and with that defensive player's mentality.

Josh Holmes has that, but it's a little more softly stated. Well, just a little. "You have to have that hunger to go one-on-one with someone," Josh said of the attitude to play the interior line. "You have to want to take on that lineman, get into the backfield and make a play."

"That's a real rush for me."

Rush isn't an ironic word considering what Holmes can do out there, Josh putting up what you can only call ridiculous numbers as a junior. 53 solo tackles, 56 assisted tackles, 4 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, 4 recovered fumbles, 8 tipped balls, 1 blocked field goal, 18 tackles for losses and a blocked field goal.

Yeah, ridiculous.

Insane actually, especially when you consider that Holmes does this amongst some of the best around, his team part of the famous CIF in California.

Using part analysis, part critique, Holmes will tell you that how he accomplishes these crazy types of stats is just about physicality, technique and speed. "I'm quick off the ball, first of all," he said. "I've got sideline to sideline speed, plus I use my upper body well, so I can stay low in leverage on offensive lineman, getting them off me and I have a good pass-rush move."

The versatility he's shown as a junior has gotten him looks from about anyone you can name and offers from schools like Colorado, Utah, Texas Tech and Nebraska.

And, Holmes knows that if he achieves his personal goals his last year of prep ball, those four are going to have lots of company in the future. "What I would like to do is be the CIF defensive player of the year and All-State," he said. "I want to do better on my stats from last year and just be better all around."

With respect to those schools that have offered or have shown interest, Josh admits that he's not thought the whole recruiting process through that much, because, well, it's still pretty darn early. What he has thought about, though, is what is on top of his mind as just some of the basic criteria, no matter what school that is. "First, it has to have a great academics program," he said. "And, I want to go to a place where there's a chance to win a championship."

"Also, I don't care where it is, because I know that if I want to go to a great program, there's a lot of them, but some are going to be pretty far away. That's fine with me if I know I will be going to a place where I can play and I can win."

The obligatory question for some of the standouts in California is obviously about USC. If they offer, some would say without hesitation that, that is where they would go. Josh doesn't hold that mind-set himself, as he's saying that wherever, whoever, whatever, if it fits, it fits. "I am as open as it gets right now," he said. "There's no place I am not looking."

That's about the same the other way as there's not many places that aren't looking at him, the mailbox, like many mailboxes of some of the premiere athletes in the country; full almost every day and just getting more and more compacted.

That's fine with Holmes, because that's just more opportunities for the future and that means, whether you the fan consider him a sleeper or not, the schools surely don't.

They've already seen him coming.


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