Matt Cashore /

C.J. Holmes soaks up Irish atmosphere

Four-star athlete C.J. Holmes committed to Notre Dame in July and on Saturday he experienced his first Irish game day.

C.J. Holmes committed to Notre Dame in July and made his Irish official visit on Saturday.

The 6-foot-1, 195-pound athlete from Cheshire, Conn., traveled to South Bend on Friday. His parents and little sister also made the trip.

“They had a pretty extensive itinerary for me set up,” Holmes said. “There were different meetings like admissions, study deans and things like that. I had some meetings with coaches and basic campus tours.”

On Friday, Holmes spent some time with several different Irish coaches.

“We had a quick meeting,” he said. “It was just football talk and how things have been going, catching up. My longest meeting was with coach (Brian) Kelly on Saturday just talking about how excited I am to be part of the program and how excited he is to have me.”

Freshman cornerback Troy Pride Jr. hosted Holmes on Friday night.

“I just hung out with a few of the players and asked every question I could think of about campus and things like that,” Holmes said.

The message from the current Irish players was simple: take advantage of the academic opportunities available to all student-athletes.

“They just said that school is going to be as hard as you want to make it,” Holmes said. “The big thing I took away from the weekend was as long as I stay on top of my studies and take advantage of tutor opportunities, I should be fine.”

The trip was more intense on Saturday as the Irish faithful prepared for the home opener.

Holmes took part in all the pre-game activities and enjoyed the walk to the stadium.

“It was pretty awesome, especially since I was able to kind of walk through by myself and one of the player development directors,” he said. “It was definitely a cool experience. Personally, at first it was kind of frightening and a little intimidating. Toward the end of the walk I kind of loosened up and started playing into it.”

The Irish defeated Nevada, 39-10, and Holmes was impressed with what he saw during the game and when he visited the post-game celebration in the locker room.

“I think they played an outstanding game,” he said. “I was really impressed and happy they got a win. It's always cool to see how guys interact after a good game like that and it's cool to see how the coaches interact with the players. I enjoyed everything about game day.”

After the game he spent time with Irish running backs Josh Adams and Tarean Folston, who turned in strong individual performances against Nevada.

“We were just hanging out playing video games and watching some football games and things like that,” he said. “Tarean Folston looks like he's struggling a little bit coming off the injury from last year. He's a good enough player that he'll catch a stride and get back into a rhythm. Josh went for 106, which is always positive, and Dexter Williams had a good game as well. The running backs are definitely doing good things this season.”

Holmes and his Cheshire Academy teammates, including Irish target Tarik Black, open their season on Saturday.

“It's looking like a win,” Holmes said. “Camp was good. I think we made great strides very early. I think my team is ready to do something special.” Top Stories