Will it be Oregon State for Holmes?

NOT ALL GEMS sign on Letter of Intent Day. Corner and return specialist Ja'Vonte Holmes will take his last junior college final at the end of this week, and a decision on where he'll play in 2006 could come soon after. It's down to two -- Oregon State and another Pac-10 school -- for the player who led College of the Canyons in interceptions, pass breakups and punt return yardage this past season.

Holmes (6-0, 175) has been in regular contact with both Oregon State and Arizona State since LOI Day, with OSU the school he's talked to the most over the past couple of weeks. Both schools have offered.

ASU had led in March, with fellow Canyons DBs and friends Justin Tryon and Troy Nolan set to play for the Sun Devils this year. Now, however, the schools are dead even.

"I don't know, it's up in the air," said Holmes. "I've still got a little bit of time to make my decision."

HOLMES WAS CONSIDERED at one time this past recruiting year to be one of the top JC corners in the 2006 class. He was expected to sign with Oregon State, and then later Hawaii, but what gave four-year schools pause, and the reason he didn't sign with anyone in February, were the questions surrounding when Holmes would earn his AA degree. The corner simply had a significant number of credits required to fill junior college requirements.

About a month ago, however, a coach at Canyons let Beaver coaches know Holmes was not only making great strides in the classroom, he was on pace to finish up this month -- additional summer courses wouldn't be required. At that point, Oregon State, although they had remained in contact throughout, stepped up their recruiting efforts.

"It's going really well," said Holmes of both school and the recruiting process. "The Oregon State coaches, they have me as the top rated (JC) corner in California. So they're talking about playing me now."

Holmes said he could make his decision as early as next week.

CANYONS HAD A secondary stocked with future D-I talent in '05 but Holmes certainly stood out in the defensive backfield. He snared seven interceptions and broke up 11 passes, along with 28 tackles (25 solo).

Holmes runs a 4.4 in the 40 and was a dangerous return man for Canyons, contributing 534 total return yards -- 199 on kickoffs and 335 yards on punts.

In his prep days, Holmes offered plenty of shifty moves as a receiver and running back, earning first team all-CIF Southern Section honors out of Palmdale High.

Among the 30 names, only one cornerback appears on the 2006 Football Letter of Intent list for Oregon State.

Ja'Vonte Holmes

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