Way back in 1999, NC State traveled to Texas to take on the Longhorns in the season opening BCA classic. The Pack entered the game an obvious underdog but it became apparent early in the contest that State would be no pushover that night. With an opportunistic offense and stout defense, the Wolfpack came away with a thrilling 23-20 win over the No. 17 ranked Longhorns. A couple of the biggest plays of the night belonged to a redshirt freshman named Terrence Holt. The brother of former all-american wide receiver Torry Holt, he blocked two punts that evening- plays that changed momentum in the game and helped establish Holt’s niche as one of the nation’s most feared special team’s defenders.
Terrence Holt came to NC State from Eastern Guilford High School in Gibsonville, NC. Ironically, Holt was probably better known at that time for his talents in basketball than his exploits on the gridiron. After mulling options to play basketball at several lower division colleges, Holt joined NC State as a walk-on in 1998.
Holt would redshirt that season and spend his time on the Wolfpack’s scout team although it didn’t take long for his potential to surface. He was named State’s most valuable defensive JV player after tallying 20 tackles, a fumble recovery and a blocked kick in three spring scrimmages.
1999 began with the Texas contest and would prove to be a glimpse of the future for Holt. He finished that year with 22 total tackles and two tackles for loss while playing in 12 games.
Holt became a full time starter in 2000 and his production at safety took off. In addition to blocking three kicks that year, he also registered 89 tackles, seven pass breakups and an interception.
2001 would prove to be Holt’s best season with the Wolfpack. He tied a national record by blocking four field goals that year. From his safety spot, Holt collected 104 tackles, four tackles for loss, two fumble recoveries and an interception en route to all-ACC honors.
By the time he was a senior, every coach in the country knew and game planned for Holt’s ability- particularly his exploits on special teams. Despite the increased focus, he blocked three more kicks in 2002 and finished his career as the ACC leader in blocked kicks with 12. Along the way Holt would notch 100 tackles, seven pass breakups and two interceptions. He would be named a finalist for the Mosi Tatupu National Specialist of the Year award and was a semi-finalist for the Thorpe Award. Holt set the NC State record for tackles by a defensive back with 315 for his career.
For his accomplishments as a senior, Holt was named a first team all-american by Sporting News and the All-American Football Foundation. CNN/SI named him to their all-american second team. For the second consecutive year, Holt was named all-ACC.
For many, special teams is little more than a brief break in the action. Over the course of his career, Terrence Holt seemed to transform every kick by an opposing team into a game-changing possibility for the Wolfpack. When all was said and done, he would finish up his career as one of the very best kick-blocking specialists college football has ever seen.