Jevon Holland (Brandon Huffman)

Irish near the top for elite Cali athlete

Versatile California athlete Jevon Holland did it all in leading Bishop O’Dowd to a state title last season. Notre Dame took notice and has made him a priority. So have some Pac-12 powerhouses. Still, the Irish appear to stand out.

Top-150 recruit Jevon Holland had an outstanding junior season in all facets.

On defense, the 6-foot-1, 182-pound athlete totaled 85 tackles, eight interceptions, 14 pass breakups and caused three fumbles. At receiver, Holland caught 12 passes for 381 yards and eight touchdowns. Also impressive, Holland added 578 yards and five touchdowns as a punt returner.

Eighteen college football programs have offered the well-rounded Cali standout, including Arizona State, Cal, Nebraska, Oregon, UCLA, Washington and Utah.

Holland is being recruited as a safety by Notre Dame, which has been making a strong collaborative effort to build a relationship.

“Right now, I’m talking to coach (Brian) Polian, coach (Mike) Elko, coach (Brian) Kelly, I’m talking to pretty much the whole coaching staff,” Holland said. “The main thing that they talk to me about is that they really want to coach me. Notre Dame puts out a lot of good safeties and they put out a lot of NFL draft picks and they think I can be a draft pick coming out of Notre Dame and I can grow from the program and the school.”

Life after football is strongly considered by Holland and his family. That plays a major role in why Notre Dame strikes his interest.

“Getting that degree from Notre Dame, it carries a lot more weight then other schools in the Pac-12,” Holland said. “Not that schools in the Pac-12 aren’t at the level that Notre Dame is, it’s just the name has a lot more weight to it in the business world, outside of football.

“Football is only going to last so long in my life. I still have to think about what I’m going to do outside of football and after football. Notre Dame has such a strong resume that that would be the best place for me to go.”

Although Holland won’t make it to South Bend for Saturday’s Blue-Gold Game, he is gaining a clearer idea of when he’ll be able to visit.

“I’m going to be in Kentucky for my sister’s basketball tournament, that’s still being arranged, but me and my dad we’re thinking about making a trip up there to Notre Dame,” Holland said. “We’re just trying to figure out how I would get up there. It would be sometime during the summer, around June 13.”

Holland played on the defensive side of the ball last season more than he had in the past. This fall he will remain a full-time starter on defense, but his coaches may be calling on him to help them more on offense, and that’s fine with him.

“I might be moving to corner this year,” Holland said. “Depending on personnel, they could keep me at safety but I’m just preparing to play corner. Offensively, if they put me at receiver more often than they did last year, I’d definitely be happy about that.

“Even if they have to move me to quarterback. I played quarterback when I was younger. We don’t have an established quarterback right now. Our QB was a senior last year and he left. So, we’re still trying to figure out where everybody fits. I may have to play receiver, corner, safety and QB.

“Out of those options, I really don’t care what I play as long as our team is getting that W.”

His father, Robert Holland, played college football at Sacramento State before being drafted by the San Francisco 49ers. He played in the NFL, NFL Europe and CFL as well as coached college football in Canada.

Holland’s father has had a profound effect on the four-star’s life as a top recruit.

“He is the reason why I’m playing football,” Holland said. “He’s the reason why I am where I am today. He’s my personal trainer, he trained me to do what I do and gave me all the intangibles that I need.”

With all the attention that Holland receives, only a few programs have been contacting him as much as the Irish.

“I’d say it’s about even between Notre Dame and Oregon and Utah,” Holland said. “They talk to me the most.”

Holland has taken a well-informed approach to his recruitment and likes what he’s discovered about Notre Dame.

“It’s definitely a school I’m considering. I did some soul-searching and I looked at the school and what it can provide for me and I did some research on Notre Dame and they’re a powerhouse school,” Holland said. “They’re a very education-strong school and that’s what I’m looking for.”

The effort being put forth by multiple Irish staff members has been strong enough to put Notre Dame’s in Holland’s top group.

“They’re definitely in my top 3 and they’ve been in my top 3 ever since I got the offer. My interest is growing stronger and stronger for them,” Holland said. Top Stories