Holmes Working on UNC Visit

North Carolina is high on Isaac Holmes' priority list of schools to visit before making a verbal commitment.

"[UNC is] actually a school that I really would like to visit," Holmes said. "The coaching staff has one of the best defensive line coaches out there. That's really someone that I would really like to meet before I make my decision.

"I'm trying to get my mother – she works for the airline – to try to get me a ticket to fly out there. If not, [UNC] could be one of my official visits."

Additionally, Holmes is working on visits to Florida and Pittsburgh. The 6-foot-3, 290-pound defensive tackle from Hoboken (N.J.) has already taken unofficial visits to Maryland, Penn State, Rutgers, and Tennessee.

Towards the end of May, Holmes, who has collected a total of 26 offers, received a scholarship offer in the mail from UNC.

"A [UNC] coach stopped by [during the Evaluation Period] and got my film," Holmes said. "And then during the conditioning practice, I spoke to the defensive line coach, Coach [John] Blake. He let me know about [the offer] before it came in the mail and let me know how interested they are in me."

Blake's initial conversation with Holmes didn't end there.

"[He said] he sees that I'm a pretty good player," Holmes said. "He was telling me how special I could be in their defensive schemes. He was really just saying he produces a lot of great athletes at the next level. He said if he could have me on his D-line, he could really see me on the next level. I really liked what I heard."

Holmes and Blake spoke several times following the initial contact.

"By way of their depth chart [and] they haven't recruited many defensive tackles this year, [Blake says] I could come in and participate early," Holmes said. "That just created a light bulb in my head. That's a pretty good plus right there."

Holmes says right now he's "really interested" in five schools: Maryland, Oklahoma, Penn State, Pittsburgh, and Rutgers.

"Probably, I'd have to say because I've been to a couple of those schools - I've seen what they have to offer," Holmes said. "Also, because they've been recruiting me for a long time so I've been doing a lot of research on those schools."

All five aforementioned schools have extended Holmes a scholarship offer.

Although UNC is on the outside looking in, the Tar Heels aren't as far out of the race as one might perceive.

"I'd have to say since [UNC is] not in my top five schools, they would have to be right at number six," Holmes said.

Holmes, though, is far from making a verbal commitment.

"As of now, it's looking like I'm trying to take all five of my official visits," Holmes said. "But I would love to come down with an early decision so I could just enjoy my senior season and have nothing to worry about. But since it's necessary, at this point I'm willing to take all five of my officials."

Four factors will go into Holmes' collegiate decision.

"First, [the most important factor] has to be academics," Holmes said. "It has to have a decent academic school. I'm leaning towards a major in criminal justice. I'm looking for a good criminal justice programs.

"I have to have a great relationship with the coaching staff. I have to feel like I can trust that coach. That coach should be there all four of my years and shouldn't be switching on me as soon as I get there.

"I'm looking for great players that I can be around all four of my years.

"And just basically, somewhere where I can come in early and participate and not have to sit out a whole year or red-shirt."

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