Chad Simmons

Close Race Between UNC, VT for RB Jalen Holston

Five schools might be in the race, but the Heels and Hokies are the two truly battling it out for the Georgia running back.

Visits are supposed to add clarity to a recruitment. However, in Jalen Holston's case it has complicated the situation, so much so that he has pushed back his decision time frame.

"The more I was visiting schools, I was starting to like my options and how I could see myself at each school," Holston said. "So, I want to take my time with my decision to make sure I make the right decision."

Holston, a 6-foot, 206-pound running back from Stockbridge (Ga.), originally considered either an early August commitment or scheduling an announcement in September around his birthday. Now, he anticipates a decision occurring in the September-October range.

Holston's visits have at least allowed him to narrow his focus. He says Georgia Tech, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia Tech have risen above his over two dozen scholarship offering schools.

"Most of those [five] schools, I was able to watch the real practices of their teams to see how their offense runs," Holston said. "And then another point is: I was able to visit the campus and really talk to the coaches and evaluate on my film and on their film on how I can help them out [and] how they can help me out. And at each school, I could actually picture myself going to school there."

If there's one school that has a lead, it's Virginia Tech, Holston says.

"When I'm there, they make me feel like I'm the main priority," Holston said. "They make me feel like I'm a part of the family. And they aren't one of the schools that try to rush you into a decision; like, 'When are you going to commit?' They know how I feel about them and I know how they feel about me, so we're taking our time with it.

"And the new offense that they have -- just how they explain it to me -- I can see myself doing numbers in it and playing a great role in that offense."

Holston says the greatest threat to Virginia Tech's lead is UNC. In fact, the Tar Heels have essentially pulled even with the Hokies.

"Right now, I'd say Virginia Tech and North Carolina are really at the same spot," Holston said.

When Holson visited UNC in July, it had two running backs committed. Although Adarius Lemons has since de-committed, the Tar Heels still aim to sign three running backs within this class.

"I wouldn't say that going to a school that is going to sign one running back versus going to a school that's trying to sign three that puts [the former] school ahead," Holston said. "I like competition, so I wouldn't say that's a factor for me. It really doesn't matter to me, because nobody is going to stop me from what I'm going to do."

From UNC, Holston communicates regularly with Larry Fedora, area recruiter Chris Kapilovic, and running back coach Larry Porter

"They tell me I'm their main guy," Holston said with a chuckle. "They want me to be that one missing piece."

According to Holston, the UNC coaches also want Holston to be the piece that replaces Elijah Hood, whenever his UNC career ends.

"To me it's great to have that comparison, because I can actually go back and watch [Hood's] high school film and watch my film," Holston said. "We actually run the same offense. And how Coach Porter and Coach Fedora talk to me, I actually have the same body type [Hood] had coming out of high school. And, I can see those comparisons. I like it. I'm going to work even harder to be even better. It's going to be hard, but I'm trying to be better than Elijah."

In Stockbridge's season-opener on Saturday, Holston rushed for 218 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 21 carries. Just as important, the Tigers edged Atlanta (Ga.) Mays, 35-34, on a missed extra point.

Between now and whenever he makes his decision, Holston plans to visit each of his five favorites for a game. No plans have been set, but he hopes to attend Tennessee vs. Virginia Tech at Bristol Motor Speedway on Sept. 10. He also has his eye on UNC vs. Virginia Tech, which will be played in Chapel Hill on Oct. 8. 

Holston would love to catch UNC vs. Georgia -- even if that meant on television -- this Saturday. Unfortunately, Stockbridge is not only playing that same day, but at the same time.

In-season visits will be unofficial trips, unless Holston's head coach determines an official won't interfere with Stockbridge's 2016 season.

Inside Carolina Top Stories