Whether it was intentional or not, Notre Dame extended a scholarship offer to four-star athlete C.J. Holmes on his birthday last week.
Holmes, a 6-foot, 200-pounder from Cheshire Academy in Cheshire, Conn., received the good news during a phone call with Irish assistant coach Scott Booker.
“We talked for a little bit and at the end of the conversation he extended the offer,” Holmes said. “It made it all the more better that it was on my birthday. I assume it was pretty coincidental. That's pretty cool if they would have waited until my birthday but I think that's just how it worked out.”
Holmes wasn’t completely surprised by the offer. He had been talking with Booker for several weeks and the Irish have visited Cheshire Academy several times in the past to see Holmes and four-star wide receiver Tarik Black.
Notre Dame joins an offer list that already included Alabama, Michigan, Penn State, Syracuse and Tennessee.
“I'm just really excited to have another opportunity to be a part of a great program with a lot of history on and off the field,” Holmes said. “I had been waiting on them to pull the trigger for some time now. My coach has been in conversation with them and I have been talking to them and they came to watch me work out a couple times. I was just hoping I'd have an opportunity to be a part of the Fighting Irish.”
Notre Dame offered Black back in January.
The two are close and have considered playing together in college.
“Considering that we've been friends for some time now and we're going through the recruiting process together, we've had the conversation but it's not a priority,” Holmes said. “It would be a dream for us to be able to have that opportunity but we understand that if the shoe doesn't fit with both of us then we wouldn't force each other into anything.”
Notre Dame is recruiting Holmes to play a role similar to the one C.J. Prosise filled before being drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in the third round of the NFL Draft.
“They want me to play on the offensive side of the field, kind of like a running back or slot type of receiver, exactly like C.J. Prosise,” Holmes said. “That's a hell of a comparison to be able to be considered with someone who gets to follow his dream in the NFL. For a prestigious team like Notre Dame to feel like I can fill that role is quite an experience.”
Holmes tentatively plans to attend the Irish Invasion camp next month.
“They want me to come to the Irish Invasion. I'm not sure if they want me to participate but I plan on trying to make an appearance,” he said. “I most recently visited Penn State and Tennessee and I plan on visiting a majority, if not all, of my recent offers this summer.”
As a junior, Holmes started at running back and safety for Cheshire Academy.
He believes his versatility is his greatest attribute.
“I think with my athletic ability I bring a lot of elusiveness to the field,” he said. “I feel like I have the size to run in between the tackles but I have the speed and agility to run outside as well. Personally, I feel like in open space nobody can touch me. Also, with my ability to catch the ball I'm very versatile and can split out as well. I feel like I have that utility guy opportunity and I have that ability to be that type of caliber of player for a team.”
Scout.com ranks Holmes as the 27th best athlete in the nation.