The 6-foot-4, 210-pound right-hander attended Saint Stanislaus College on the Mississippi coast before transferring to IMG Academy in Florida. There he was coached by former major leaguer Chris Sabo. He had been ranked a Top 200 player in the nation by Perfect Game, including the No. 4 player in the state of Mississippi and best right-handed pitcher in the state. He was named a Top 500 prospect by Baseball America. As a senior he went 6-2 with a 1.02 ERA on the mound while hitting .360 at the plate. He was the 2015 Class 4A Player of the Year in Mississippi after leading Saint Stanislaus to a state championship with a 12-1 record, 99 strikeouts, and a 0.91 ERA over 72 innings.
As for leaving Mississippi and heading to IMG, the Long Beach native simply said he wanted to be the best he could be.
“I wanted to get better as a baseball player,” he said. “I think it got me ready for this next level, honestly. The training down there was like Strength Ben (Fleming at Ole Miss). But Strength Ben’s is way harder. Baseball in Florida has so many prospects, and I wanted to face that. I wanted to get used to it.”
He will face even more challenges in college and the Southeastern Conference. He’s preparing for those battles by facing the hitters on his own team and also competing with pitchers here. Some of those are in his class, the top freshmen group in the country according to many.
“We don’t really talk about the No. 1 ranked class. We just come out here and do our thing,” Holston said. “We do what got us here. We expect to play, and we all have expectations for the season. We’re just going to fill our roles.”
So what is Holston all about? He will tell you fairly quickly.
“Competitiveness. Focus on what I do best, which really is compete. The biggest thing I learned (at IMG) was to not get above who I am. Stay ‘me’ as a baseball player really.”
Being coached by a former major leaguer was also a plus.
“He’s a character, I’ll tell you that,” Holston said of Sabo. “He has so much knowledge of the game, and he’s such a humble person when it comes down to it. It rubbed off on me a little bit, how to stay humble and know the mental side of baseball.”
His steps from Saint Stanislaus to IMG to Ole Miss have helped his rise and improvement as a pitcher.
“The level of difficulty was probably raised a lot (at IMG), and when you play against better baseball, it’s going to raise your game. So I kind of transferred that to here. You can’t get better than SEC baseball. I knew (IMG) wasn’t going to be anything like (the SEC), but it definitely got me better as a baseball player.”
Now he’s ready to pitch at the collegiate level and help his team reach its goals.
“Competing for the spots, you just do what you’ve got to do,” Holston said. “There’s a ton of competition. Everybody is trying to get a spot.”
Holston is certainly in the mix for one of those.