Versatile DE looking to go out in style

There's probably close to 300 kids out of the state of California who will get Division 1-A scholarships this year. That means that any prep football player, no matter how good, has to be pretty darn good to stand out. Defensive EndD.J. Holt is one of those that is on his way and he's got the attention to say that's going to happen. After all, how many kids do you know who not only run the 100 meter, but compete in the shot put as well?

Any linebacker that weighs around 240 pounds and still competes in the 100 meter dash is someone you want to take a look at. That's Encino, California's D.J. Holt. He's one of the few athletes you will ever see that during track season, both runs the 100 meter and throws the shot put for his school.

Not bad for a defensive end, eh?

Standing over 6-2, weighing around 240 pounds, you can figure what D.J.'s strength is at the defensive end position. You can figure it, but the stats tell the tale:

71 tackles, including 14 sacks, two forced fumbles, two interceptions, both taken back for touchdowns

Again, not bad, eh?

On offense Holt isn't a slouch in that department either, playing both tight end and part time running back for his team. As a tight end/h-back/slot receiver, Holt caught 48 balls for 849 yards, scoring 10 times. As a running back, while Holt only got 18 carries, he scored on a third of those carries, totaling 250 yards.

Not……oh, come on, you get the point. This kid is an all-around athlete

It's no wonder that when he visits the mailbox, schools like USC, UCLA, LSU, Arizona State, Nebraska, Miami, Boston College, CAL, Tennessee and Notre Dame usually show up in the pile.

While Holt will admit to some of his ability, he's surprised by this amount of attention right now. "You don't really think about it, even when you are at the combine, like I was this last year down in San Antonio," Holt said of his experience at the U.S. Army Junior All-American Combine. "You go there hoping to go against the best, so you can see where you match up."

And how did he do?

"I think I did well," Holt continued. "You get to face guys that are bigger than you are, some really strong, but I think I did ok."

It's enough to warrant the attention, but Holt looks at it as something he's not trying to analyze. He'd rather sit back and enjoy it. D.J. does know, though, that at some point, he is going to have to figure out what he wants to do. "I have some camps and all that planned this year, just to get my name out there a little more, but more than anything, work on my own game, so I can finish high school off in style," he said. "It's important for me to go out as a good leader on and off the field. If I do that, I guess the attention will follow."

As to the attention, like any California kid, the assumption is that once USC offers, if that happens to be the case, that's where he will ultimately go. D.J. admitted that there would be a lot worse things than being with the Trojans, but seeing as he isn't even a California native, it's not necessarily Trojans or bust for him. "USC is great, everyone knows that," Holt said. "But I am from Tennessee, so it's not like it's been USC my entire life."

"Honestly, I always grew up a Florida State fan, but I can't say if they offered, I would go there either. Right now, I am just trying to keep a really open mind."

Amongst the various visits he plans on making throughout the off-season, his initial plans are to attend junior days at both UCLA and USC. Also, if time permits, he'll work on attending various combines around the area.

More than anything, though, he's working on himself, because along with the team goals of getting better, he's looking to better every single aspect of his game. "You can't be too good to improve," D.J. said. "No matter how good you do something or are at something, there's someone better, so you have to keep working to improve."

"I want to win, but I know I can help make that happen even more if I better myself in every single way."

One way he won't have to worry about bettering himself is with his attitude, which would seem obvious. But I am not referring to that specifically. It pertains to his attitude on the field, more pointed toward defense.

You want to know what a defensive mentality is? Try Holt on for size. As he explained, he sometimes hits players so hard, there's no telling who gets knocked out. "It was last year and I hit this guy so hard, I knocked myself out," he said. "I know that guy was a little slow getting up, but I guess I just hit him the right way."

"But that's defense, man, you have to take your shots when you get them and if I get it, man, I'm taking it as hard as I can."

"I guess if I end up knocking myself out, oh well, just so long as the guy with the ball went down."

Chances are, it will be the other guy that goes down before D.J., especially if he attains his goals of 400 on the bench and close to a houseful on the squat. He's looking to become a physical specimen as well as a defensive minded assassin on the field. D.J. will continue his exploits on offense, of course, but he's looking to make a statement and he thinks defense is where it will happen.

But you have to think, anyone that can compete in both the shot put and 100 meter dash and do well in both, has already made a statement. Now he's just looking to make a few more.

"Whatever I do, I'm going to do it better or I'm going to push myself to try as hard as I can," he said. "If you want something, that's what you have to do. You either get it done or give up and I don't give up."

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